It’s said that the military gives you training that stays with you the rest of your life.
For David Van De Car, DO, an interventional cardiologist with Our Lady of the Lake Heart and Vascular Institute, it prepared him for the fast-paced environment and variety of heart conditions he treats each day in Baton Rouge.
Dr. Van De Car joined Our Lady of the Lake Health a year ago, but his 24-year career in the military included serving as chief of cardiology at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
While caring for soldiers tends to have its own set of challenges, Dr. Van De Car says they tend to be relatively healthy and lead active lives because of the military’s demands. When it comes to caring for civilians, however, there are a lot more variables at play, such as age and lifestyle.
“My time in the military allowed me to focus on what type of care is required and to really focus on the patient and what their needs are,” Dr. Van De Car says. “It also increases your sense of responsibility and self-reliance in such a way that really empowers a person.”
Serving His Country
Dr. Van De Car has a long family history of military service, including his father who was in the Navy.
The Army offered the best option for Dr. Van De Car, as it gave him an opportunity to serve his country while also helping cover the expenses of medical school.
His service in the Army found him stationed in San Antonio, Texas; Durham, North Carolina; Tacoma, Washington, and a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.
“It was something that I will never forget,” Dr. Van De Car says of the overseas deployment. “It was very interesting practicing medicine in such an austere environment, treating our military and also treating Afghan natives.”
Transition to Civilian Life
Dr. Van De Car is originally from Marianna, Florida, though his wife is a Baton Rouge native. After he completed his last assignment at Fort Bragg, they opted to move closer to family in the Capital City. He says they had always enjoyed their time in Louisiana when bringing their kids to visit relatives and grandparents.
He’s also able to continue providing excellent heart care through Our Lady of the Lake Heart and Vascular Institute and his practice at Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group Louisiana Cardiology Associates where he treats patients with coronary heart disease, patients who have experienced heart attacks and has also been working in the field of structural cardiology, which includes defects of the heart’s structure, such as the valves, chambers or muscles.
Dr. Van De Car says what drew him to Our Lady of the Lake was its status as a referral center for complex heart cases and heart surgeries throughout the region. The heart care team at Our Lady of the Lake continues to expand its services, which will only make it more of a destination for heart care.
“I think we’re very well positioned to continue to grow and stay on top of providing cutting-edge care for the region,” he says.
As for the recognition he’s received for his military service, Dr. Van De Car is quick to acknowledge that the focus isn’t just about him and his work.
“It’s drawing attention in the community to the importance of military service in general and the value it brings,” he says. “Hopefully that encourages people to consider the military as a career option or a way to improve their careers.”
Dr. Van De Car has been honored as one of Our Lady of the Lake’s Geaux Heroes, which recognizes our incredible doctors and medical team members. He is being recognized on the field of Tiger Stadium during the LSU football game October 21 against the Army. The game will also serve to honor and celebrate veterans.