About Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer
The Leading Vascular Surgeon of Choice in Northeast Ohio
In 1967 I was 11 years old. This was the year that the first human heart transplant was successfully completed in Cape town, South Africa by Dr. Christian
Barnard. The announcement was etched in my memory as this event captivated the evening news, newspaper headlines and the cover of Time
magazine. This medical landmark was my introduction to medicine and the cardiovascular system. I visited the public library and read every book I could
find on the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
What closely followed was the development of the artificial heart by the world-famous surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey in Houston, Texas. Dr. DeBakey
appeared larger than life in the news. In seventh grade science class, we studied a cow’s heart, lungs and blood vessels. I was quite impressed, at the age
of 13 years, when my grandfather traveled to Texas in order to undergo a vascular bypass operation by Dr.DeBakey himself. The operation saved my
grandfather’s leg and added many years to his life.
For me, these events were amazing and further drew my interest to the field of cardiovascular disease Nothing mattered more to me than becoming a
surgeon trained to repair the heart, lungs and blood vessels. From that point forward, all efforts and decisions were directed to achieving that goal.
Hard work lead to undergraduate studies at Duke University and Oxford, then medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago with research in
cardiac disease and a residency in General Surgery. Two additional years were spent at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National
Institutes of Health in Bethesda where my experience deepened in cardiovascular and lung physiology. I was given the opportunity to perform original
laboratory research in pulmonary vascular function and collaborated with scientists at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and George Washington
University who shared a common interest. During this time, my father required carotid artery surgery and coronary bypass surgery, both events spurring
my desire to treat these diseases. He later suffered greatly from peripheral vascular disease, again, pushing me forward to treat others with this
affliction. My experience in thoracic surgical oncology at the University of Illinois and a close family member with lung cancer also fueled my desire to
pursue the surgical treatment of lung cancer.
After general surgery residency, I entered my cardiothoracic fellowship which brought me to Los Angeles for two years. I completed my training in 1992
and accepted a position to practice heart, lung and vascular surgery at Northside Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s in Youngstown, and have since expanded
my practice to other hospitals in the Mahoning Valley. Perhaps due to my family’s involvement with vascular disease, my interest in limb salvage surgery
developed further. I was fortunate to learn from leaders in this field and have employed these advanced techniques in my practice. My practice in
treating diseases of the chest, most notably, lung cancer, has been extremely rewarding. I have had the great experience to follow many patients who
are long term cancer survivors, some over twenty years since their surgery.
For the past 26 years, I have cared for people who live in my community. While my original childhood inspiration came from a titan of cardiovascular
surgery, my daily motivation is to pursue what I love: fixing people and making them better so that they can enjoy all that life has to offer in our Valley.
Whether it is bike riding along the Ohio Pyle River, walking through Mill Creek Park, attending a 50th wedding anniversary or attacking the cookie table at
a wedding, good health is necessary to enjoy these activities to their fullest. I consider it a deep honor and privilege to be trusted and allowed to care for
members of my community.