I’ve often heard it said that there’s no place quite like the Valley. Many come for a visit and leave with smiles on their faces, as if pleasantly surprised by the kindness of others. Perhaps it was that kindness that drew local neurologist, Dr. Zuka Khabbazeh, back to the southern border.
“People in the Valley are very warm and welcoming,” beamed Khabbazeh. “They appreciate what we, as physicians, do for them. I certainly missed my patients and my friends, who, over the years, have become like family to me. I thought that I could make new connections when I left the Valley, but that proved much harder than I thought.”
After nearly 20 years, she left the Valley and headed for Longview, Texas, where she practiced neurology for one year. The intent was to be closer to her two children, but the experience for Khabbazeh just wasn’t the same. Eventually, her path would lead her right back to where she belongs – in McAllen. After all, Dr. Khabbazeh has a history with the Valley. She started out as one of only three neurologists in the entire region – an accomplishment that warrants great recognition and a round of applause.
Today, Dr. Khabbazeh is a well-respected and well-recognized neurologist at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in McAllen, where she specializes in a wide range of neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Khabbazeh is wasting no time to meet her career goal, which is to advance neurological care in the Valley – a vision she truly hopes will come to fruition. With all of the exciting advances in stroke care and other neuro-related disorders, it makes sense that Khabbazeh would want to introduce specialized care to her patients.
“I am hopeful that we will continue to grow so that no patient needs to leave the Valley to get specialized care,” said Khabbazeh. “My goal is to advance the department of neurology at the Neurological Institute at Renaissance.”
Khabbazeh hopes to recruit sub-specialists in all fields of neurology to come practice in the Valley, specializing in areas such as epilepsy, migraine treatment, movement, dementia, and neuromuscular disorders.
“The advantage of being specialized is that one knows more in that particular field and therefore can provide better care for the patient,” she explained.
Another goal is education … for the patients, that is. Neurology is not the most well understood or familiar medical topic among residents in the Valley. In fact, many avoid neurologists just for that reason – be it fear of the unknown or just a simple misunderstanding.
“I think that there is lack of knowledge about neurological conditions,” she explained. “And that is why patients do not consult neurologists. However, it has been my experience that once a patient has been seen by a neurologist, and there is a good explanation for their complaints, that usually they continue to care of themselves.”
For now, Khabbazeh is settling in and getting reacquainted with old friends while making new ones. Between organizing things and announcing her big return to the Valley, she has been quite busy.
“My biggest challenge right now is getting my office back in order again,” said Khabbazeh. “I need to spread the word to my old patients that I am back and that I would love to see all of my patients again. For those who are settled with a new physician and are happy, I wish them all the luck and good health.”