Although Dr. Bagg was not born in El Paso, you could almost say he is a native who has come back home again. His family originally moved to the area when he was 5 years old. His father was an orthopedic surgeon in the army, so it was natural for him to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“After I graduated from high school, I left El Paso,” says Dr. Bagg. “Fourteen years later, the army brought me back and I stayed. My parents were here. My in-laws are here, and now I have my kids here.”
He decided to follow in his father’s career path into medicine while he was in college.
“I knew I wanted to be a doctor mid-way through college,” says Dr. Bagg. “It was always in the back of my mind. Now I’ve been practicing medicine in El Paso for 21 years.”
Urology is the perfect fit
“I’ve been seeing several of my patients for 15 or 20 years,” says Dr. Bagg. “That’s one thing I love about urology. More than any other surgical subspecialty, in urology we get to follow patients through the years.”
While still in medical school, Dr. Bagg thought maybe he wanted to be a general surgeon, but after doing the first rotation, he changed his mind. Two family friends in his rotation were urologists and introduced him to the idea.
“I found out urology was a perfect match for me because there was more involved than I thought initially,” says Dr. Bagg. “And on top of that, you have a lot of patient contact. In other specialties you might not see that patient again after a year or two or even after 6 months. In urology you are seeing them for chronic issues so a stronger patient-physician relationship develops.”
Part of the RGU family from the beginning
Dr. Bagg was part of the Rio Grande Urology( RGU) family from the very beginning of the group practice over 9 years ago. He helped birth it and has seen it grow through the years.
“The group mentality at RGU works well for patient care and for quality of life,” says Dr. Bagg. “Instead of being on call two days every week or 50% of the time, the group practice reduced that significantly, which is important for me with my family.”
RGU has also been a significant force in raising the quality of patient care in the urology field in El Paso over the years, and Dr. Bagg has been thrilled to be a part of this evolution.
“When I started practicing here 20 years ago, many patients left El Paso to get advanced medical treatment,” he says. “Today, very few patients need to leave because we offer those treatments here. We have a really progressive group at RGU, and we bring new procedures and modalities of treatment to El Paso.”
One of the most rewarding parts of the job for Dr. Bagg is investing in the medical leaders of tomorrow.
“I have a couple of medical assistants who have gone on to medical school,” he says. “That’s really rewarding. The people in our office work really hard, all of them.”
Patient care is the family way
“Treat patients like they are your family members” is Dr. Bagg’s philosophy of patient care, and his commitment to his patients over the years has proven that philosophy works.
“One of the best things I’ve ever done as a physician was talk to a patient about his weight,” says Dr. Bagg. “He weighed about 360 pounds, and he was only 33 or 34 at the time. I talked to him about his weight and the impact it was having on his health. He came back a few years later and weighed 180 pounds! He credited his motivation to that 20 minute conversation we had, and he went out and lost the weight.”
But Dr. Bagg’s drive to keep on the cutting edge of the urology field and offer his patients the best care possible is what really motivates his commitment over the long term.
“We’ve seen enormous changes over the last 20 years in how we do surgery in El Paso,” he says, “from open surgery, to laparoscopic in 2005, to robots today. We’ve been using the robot now for eight or nine years.”
The field of prostate cancer is another area of growth that is exciting right now. More patients are undergoing active surveillance rather than active treatment. Using DNA markers to closely monitor cancer survivors is a very promising development in the field.
“I have a patient been following for eight or nine years and he is doing well with just active surveillance,” says Dr. Bagg. “The next generation
“I like to work,” says Dr. Bagg. “I have four kids, and that keeps me hopping. Two kids of my kids are still at home and I have two in college. My oldest son is working with us at RGU.”
Taking the family business into the next generation is a source of great pride for Dr. Bagg. Having his son working at RGU right now is an added bonus. His son Mike will be attending medical school in Houston soon although he doesn’t want to go to urology. He’s thinking of becoming a surgeon like his grandfather and his uncle.
“I have five siblings,” he says. “My brother is an ortho surgeon, and my dad was a surgeon. So having Mike, my oldest son, working with us is great. We want to launch the patient navigator program, and Mike is leading that project. The goal of this program is giving the best quality of care to our patients.”
Keeping it in the family and treating his patients like family — that’s Dr. Bagg’s philosophy and what keeps him close to his patients.