Archive for Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Tonganoxie’s newest physician traces roots to a small town

March 17, 2004

Bill Weatherford was raised in the Blue Valley-Stilwell school district.

But that was a different time.

About 15 years ago, Weatherford graduated in a class of 170 and his parents' home sat near a gravel road.

Today, paved roads have replaced the gravel in the booming area of Johnson County.

And now, Weatherford has returned to the small-town life, as Tonganoxie's newest doctor. Weatherford is practicing in the just-built Family Medicine of Tonganoxie office on U.S. Highway 24-40, near First State Bank and Trust.

"My whole family just recently moved out of Johnson County because it used to be that small-town feeling," said Weatherford, whose parents now live between Lawrence and Topeka. "I lived in Olathe the last 12 years. It doesn't bother me, but it was great to get away from the traffic.

"I think it's a nice location."

Weatherford, 33, graduated from Kansas State University in 1993 and the University of Kansas in 2000. But the Tonganoxie physician wasn't always studying medicine. His undergraduate degree was in education and he taught chemistry and science at his own high school for three years before moving into the medical field.

"My degree was in teaching, but I always wanted to be a doctor," he said. "I didn't want to teach there that long."

Weatherford completed his residency at Baptist Lutheran Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., and then joined Lawrence Memorial Hospital in August. Before the Tonganoxie clinic opened, he worked at LMH's Mount Oread Family Practice in Lawrence. He officially started work Dec. 8 in Tonganoxie.

The office, which is owned by LMH, averages between 13 and 15 patients a day.

"For the most part, we've been slow," Weatherford said. "Right now, people have been able to walk in."

And that hasn't been all bad for the patients.

"We've had people just call and we say, 'How fast can you get here?'" Weatherford said.

Ultimately, Weatherford would like the clinic to treat 25 to 30 patients per day.

"I think the hospital is really committed to communities around it to be the best they can be so that people here have the same quality that people in Johnson County have without driving 45 minutes," Weatherford said.

Weatherford and his wife, Karlye, live in Tonganoxie. The Weatherfords have a 1-year-old son, Will.

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