Dr. Ernesto Tan Retiring from Long, Successful Urology Practice
When Dr. Ernesto Tan looks back on his long and successful career as a Joliet-area urologist, he says a combination of good luck and good planning have made all the difference.
And as he closes the door to his Lockport office on Dec. 31 after 41 years in practice, he looks forward to ushering in a new year and a new chapter in his life: a well-deserved retirement!
“A lot of people ask me why I’m retiring,” the 72-year-old husband, father and grandfather of three muses. “I’ve stayed healthy all these years, and I’m healthy now. But there’s only so many years of an active lifestyle we all have, and I want to enjoy an active one for many more years to come. But I’ll miss my wonderful staff and my patients.”
So how does he plan to fill his days? Focusing on his favorite hobbies of course: racquetball, ballroom dancing and photography! And then there’s travel. “I plan to travel a lot more, especially out west,” he adds.
Maybe his travels will even take him back to his native Philippines, where it all began for Dr. Tan, the son of two doctors eager to make his own mark on the medical profession.
A Bit of Luck
After graduating from medical school in Manila, Dr. Tan arrived in the U.S. in 1973 to perform a general surgery residency at the esteemed Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, at the time the largest private hospital in the U.S. “I was very fortunate to match at Michael Reese,” he remembers. “It was a high-powered, tremendously vibrant hospital.”
Dr. Tan spent two years in the general surgery residency when the hospital’s chief of urology approached him about making a switch to urology. “For him to ask me…, I accepted,” he explains. “He was well known nationally, as were many of the department heads at Michael Reese.”
As Dr. Tan puts it, “another door opened for me.”
The next one opened when he met the late plastic surgeon Dr. Vic Tsai at a social gathering. “He told me they needed another urologist in Joliet,” he said. Since Dr. Tan and his wife Connie were looking to relocate from Chicago to a smaller community, the fit was perfect.
In 1978, Dr. Tan joined the medical staff of Silver Cross Hospital and has been dedicated to the hospital ever since.
Throughout his career, Dr. Tan’s patients have admired him not only for his extraordinary skill as a urologist, but also for his down-to-earth approach and trademark sense of humor that immediately put them at ease.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to focus on areas of urology that are of interest to me,” he explains. “I’ve dealt with conditions that can be evaluated and investigated in the office. New treatments are developing almost monthly for a wide variety of conditions.”
In fact, Dr. Tan was the first physician in Will County to perform a revolutionary orthotopic artificial bladder procedure on a female patient with bladder cancer several years ago.
“Dr. Tan has held many positions at Silver Cross and, as former Chief of Staff, helped lay the foundation for Silver Cross to earn recognition as one of the nation’s best,” said Silver Cross Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Ruth Colby. “In 2009, Silver Cross honored Dr. Tan for his remarkable service to his field and to Silver Cross Hospital with the Sehring Medal of Excellence.”
Dr. Tan served as Chief of Staff and on the Silver Cross Hospital Board of Directors for two years. He also served as Chairman of the Medical Executive Committee and member of the credential committee for many years. In addition, he was instrumental in starting the Silver Cross Continence Center.
When he looks back, Dr. Tan says he’s proud of the work he’s done, but he’s even more proud of how Silver Cross Hospital has evolved as an industry leader. “The evolution of Silver Cross over the last eight years has been mind-blowing,” he said. “When I look back, these are all fortunate turn of events. I believe in life you have to be well-prepared and lucky too.”
In addition to the many hours he devoted to his patients over the years, Dr. Tan still found time to give back to the community. He’s served on several boards including the Guardian Angel and American Cancer Society. He was a tireless “Big Brother” and in 2007 received the Big Brother of the Year award for the State of Illinois.
In addition to his professional and volunteer accomplishments, Dr. Tan cherishes the moments he shares with his family. The Tan’s have been married for 46 years. Together, they have two children – son, Calvin and daughter, Erin, and three granddaughters.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life and in my career,” he adds. “I’ve enjoyed my patients, my practice and the many friendships I’ve made.”
Dr. Tan is especially thankful he’s been able to serve the community that put its trust in him.
“I always encourage young doctors to get involved in the community and do their part,” he adds. “After all, it’s the community that supports us.”
Dr. Tan’s office will remain open through the month of January. If you need to get a copy of your medical records or obtain a referral to another doctor, please call 815-741-1020.