Photos by Ginny Kropf: Dr. Surinder Bath, a Medina physician for nearly 47 years, has announced his retirement, effective Sept. 17.
MEDINA – The medical community in Medina is about to see some changes with the announcement of the retirement of longtime Medina physician Dr. Surinder Bath.
On the heels of that news comes an announcement by Oak Orchard Health that the organization will take over Dr. Bath’s office and start a medical practice in Medina.
Dr. Bath started practicing in Medina in 1974. Growing up in a small town in India, he said he thought he would be an engineer, but a cousin convinced him to become a doctor. He trained in internal medicine for two years, studying clinical pathology hematology. He came to the United States, where he studied internal medicine for four years at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, followed by two years at the Veterans Administration in Dayton, Ohio.
He discovered Medina when he and his wife Daisy were traveling back from a trip to Montreal.
“I found this place to be very peaceful and calm,” Dr. Bath said. “They were looking for an internist, and I liked the place and people here, so I gave it a try. That was 46 years ago.”
He and his wife have three children, two of whom are in the medical profession – one a radiologist and one an internist. Another daughter got her MBA in business administration and marketing from the University of Buffalo.
Dr. Bath said it will be hard to leave Medina, but at the age of 75, it’s time.
“I have been tied to my patients and gave them so much love and care, but I want to spend more time with my family,” he said.
Dr. Surinder Bath is surrounded by his staff members, Elizabeth “Betsy” Phinney, left; and Theresa Gurney. Absent is Vicki Lynn Cotter, who has been in the office nearly 40 years.
Sept. 17 will be Dr. Bath’s last working day and he and his wife will be moving to Georgia. He said he may try to sell his home in Medina, but he also plans to come back to visit in the summers.
“I have very fond memories from here,” he said. “This community has given me so much love, and Orleans Community Health has been so good to me. The staff and nurses at Medina Memorial Hospital are great and have always been so helpful. I will miss this community, my staff and the love my patients gave me.”
He said he has been blessed with a wonderful staff over the years and he will miss them.
His staff includes Elizabeth “Betsy” Phinney, who is secretary and office manager. She has been with Dr. Bath for 13 years. Theresa Gurney, accountant, started in 1989, left for a few years and came back. Vicki Lynn Cotter, who does business accounting and billing, has been with Dr. Bath for almost 40 years.
“We’re happy for him. He’s been a wonderful doctor,” Phinney said. “He is taking the next step in his life, but we are going to be sad to see him go.”
“I came here to help out for two or three months, and 13 years later I’m still here,” Gurney said. “With him it’s never been about the money. It’s always been about the care.”
“Dr. Bath is looking forward to some free time to spend with his family, and to golf, he said.
The Baths also have six grandchildren, four in Georgia and two in California.
The one message he wants to leave the community is to “get vaccinated so we can get over Covid.”
He said there is so much misinformation out there about the vaccine and it is unfounded.
“Getting vaccinated is the safest thing,” he said. “It can save your life and someone else’s, too.”
“I am leaving very happy and saddened,” Dr. Bath said.
Dr. Bath is happy to see Oak Orchard Health taking over his practice.
“My staff will be working with them and the care of my patients will be ongoing,” he said.
Stacie Bridge, chief operating officer at Oak Orchard Health, said they are excited about offering health care in Medina.
“We definitely hope to be there this fall, but we are waiting for approval from the state on the renovations we plan to make,” Bridge said. “We definitely want to be there this fall.”
Oak Orchard Health has offices in Albion, Lyndonville, Warsaw, Hornell, Brockport, Batavia, Alexander and Pembroke.
“We are a federally qualified health center which targets the rural population,” Bridge said.
They offer health care to the uninsured and underinsured in the fields of medical, dental, vision and behavioral health.
Bridge added Oak Orchard Health will be opening a dental practice in Albion.