Akron Children’s Hospital’s newest pediatric general surgeon Dr. Nathan Heinzerling can relate to kids facing surgical procedures. He himself underwent an operation for perforated Meckel’s diverticulitis (congenital defect of the gastrointestinal tract) and a grueling 2-week hospital stay when he was just 8 years old.
That experience enables him to offer his patients a unique level of comfort and understanding from someone who’s been there, whether he’s fixing the simplest hernia or operating on the most complex abdominal wall defect. By helping other kids in circumstances similar to his own, he’s reminded each day why he chose to work in — and give back to — the medical field.
Which celebrity do you look the most like or which sitcom character do you act the most like?
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I was hospitalized when I was 8 years old and wanted to help others after that experience. I was very appreciative of the entire medical team’s care for me throughout my stay in the hospital.
When you curl up on the couch to watch a movie, are you most likely to have a bowl of popcorn, chocolate or box of tissues?
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Feed my 3 boxers
Do you dunk your Oreos in milk, lick off the icing, eat them as they are or avoid them altogether?
Eat them as is
Where did you grow up?
Carol Stream, IL, outside of Chicago
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My wife, Bethany, and our 3 dogs: Maximus, Persephone and Artemis
What’s your favorite food? Who makes it best?
Deep dish pizza from Giordano’s in Chicago
What was your first concert?
Aerosmith, Nine Lives Tour
What was your first paying job?
Delivering papers as a child