Susumu Inoue MD

“Nothing is more satisfying and stimulating than seeing sick children and trying to get them better - and succeeding at it.” ~Susumu Inoue MD
Dr. Inoue and Sabrina Rea pose for a photo in Hurley's Pediatric Oncology Clinic. Rea was diagnosed with cancer at age 6.
Dr. Inoue and Sabrina Rea pose for a photo in Hurley's Pediatric Oncology Clinic. Rea was diagnosed with cancer at age 6. Photo by Michael Yassick.

Dr. Inoue is one of our greatest assets at Hurley Medical Center. A Michigan State University, East Lansing, faculty member for 24 years, he previously was faculty at Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich. Originally from Japan, Dr. Inoue completed his residency and fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. He currently serves as associate program director of Hurley’s Pediatric Residency Program, previously served as interim program director, has been pediatric research director, and has received many teaching awards. Academic interests include sickle cell disease, acute leukemia, medical education, quality of health care, family-centered care, health policy, and thrombocytopenia. He has published more than 70 articles.

Most notable are his clinical and humanistic ethics – an invaluable model for physicians in training. When he suspects a patient has cancer, for example, he moves the case through the system fast, getting a diagnosis as quickly as possible, so treatment can begin immediately. You’ve heard of special “family treatment” for medical staffers? In Dr. Inoue’s clinic, every patient gets family treatment.

“I love it here,” says Sabrina Rea, age 20, of Saginaw, who sees Dr. Inoue for cancer follow-up visits. Diagnosed with leukemia at age 6, she has been through remissions and a relapse yet feels happy to see Dr. Inoue and his team. “I feel like this is my family here. I love everybody here,” says Rea, who was inspired by her experience to study nursing at Delta College, Bay County, Mich., while working part-time to pay her way. She talked about the difference between dealing with active leukemia at age 6 and a relapse at age 14.

“At 6, I really didn’t understand what it was, but I seen everybody crying … It was going through the shots that scared me the most” at that age, she says. At 14, it was much harder. “I was kind of upset that I had to go through everything again. … I was crying and everything. (Dr. Inoue) was so gentle and nice. When I have to get a shot, he makes me feel so comfortable – it makes me not think I’m getting a shot but that I’m just getting help to get better. I love everything about Dr. Inoue.”

Dr. Inoue respects his patients – and his residents. He wants them to know that even older “kids” into their early 20s get better outcomes if they’re treated with pediatric protocols, according to the medical evidence. Plus, he shows how kids can get the best cancer treatment in the nation right here in Flint. Dr. Inoue applies for every childhood oncology protocol available through the Children’s Oncology Group, which means that sick kids don’t have to travel out of state or to a big city to receive the best care in the nation for their cancer. They can stay close to home and get cutting-edge care in Hurley’s friendly oncology clinic.

“I feel most blessed to have chosen this profession,” says Dr. Inoue. “Nothing is more satisfying and stimulating than seeing sick children and trying to get them better - and succeeding at it.”

At Hurley, he most loves the “collection of genuinely caring and good people, and not cut-throat people you find commonly in highly sophisticated and urban medical establishments,” he says.

In his free time, Dr. Inoue enjoys Zumba class, working out at the Hurley Health & Fitness Center, tennis (“though, lately, I have had difficulty finding a playmate at my non-skill level,” he quips), and listening to good classical music.

Enrique Diemecke, conductor of the Flint Symphony Orchestra. File photo courtesy of The Flint Journal, published Sept. 15, 2011. © 2011 The Flint Journal. All rights reserved. Used with permission of The Flint Journal.
Enrique Diemecke, conductor of the Flint Symphony Orchestra. File photo courtesy of The Flint Journal, published Sept. 15, 2011. © 2011 The Flint Journal. All rights reserved. Used with permission of The Flint Journal.

Hidden talent: Karaoke performer

Plus, he just plain likes living and working in the Flint area, especially for its surprisingly frequent and broad offering of cultural events.

“Flint is, in spite of its adverse reputation, alive with cultural events all year long. The Flint Symphony Orchestra, for which I buy season tickets every year, is truly enjoyable, and its music director and conductor, Enrique Diemecke, is quite a character. The introductions he makes before each music piece in the concert are funny and enjoyable,” he says.

Here, Enrique Diemecke conducts The Flint Symphony Orchestra. File photo courtesy of The Flint Journal, published Sept. 15, 2011. © 2011 The Flint Journal. All rights reserved. Used with permission of The Flint Journal. (Click on photo for link to The Journal’s newspaper article about the FSO.)