Dr. Roger Hall is enjoying his last days of seeing a familiar face in the operating rooms at Rogue Valley Medical Center.
Hall, a veteran heart surgeon with more than 40 years of scalpel experience, often is paired in the operating room with an anesthesiologist that shares his name.
"I like looking up and seeing my son working in the room," Roger Hall said.
The career paths that led the Halls to RVMC began when Brian Hall was in high school.
"I used to go watch him in surgery," Brian Hall said. "I was interested in what he did for a living."
Brian Hall, 39, started his college education with an interested in music. He studied piano at Brigham Young University in Utah before he met his future wife. He decided that the world had enough concert pianists and that he needed to find a career that would pay the bills.
"We don't really come from a medical family," Brian Hall said. "We have teachers and other jobs in the family, but Dad and me are the doctors."
Hall followed in his dad's footsteps and was accepted into the University of Utah medical school.
However, he found that he did not jibe with his father's speciality.
"It didn't suit me," he said. "I like what I do as an anesthesiologist."
The basic job of the anesthesiologist is to keep a patient alive during the traumatic experience of surgery. Heart surgeries are among the most taxing on the body because the heart often has to be stopped during the procedure.
The Halls have high regard for each others' tasks in the operating room.
"Anesthesiologists often don't get the credit they deserve," Roger Hall said. "A heart surgeon basically brings the patient close to death during the surgery, while the anesthesiologist keeps them living. He's there to make sure they make it out of the operation."
A father-son surgery team is a rarity in the Rogue Valley, Roger Hall said.
"You don't hear about it very often at all," he added. "When we are in surgery, sometimes the nurses hear things like, 'Hey dad' and they aren't used to that."
The pair seem proud that their combined careers span a large swath of modern medicine.
"It's a lot different than it used to be," Roger Hall said. "The technology that (Brian) has available wasn't around when I got my start."
Brian Hall often sees patients that his father has operated on in the past.
"I hear it all the time about how dad saved someone's life or a family member's life," he said. "That happens almost daily."
Their bond is useful in the operating room, where communication is key to the team working well together in service of the patient.
The Halls find that they talk a lot of shop after work. Topics at the dinner table often turn to medicine, they said.
"I'm sure it gets annoying for other people, but we really love what we do," Brian Hall said.
Their days working in the same room are numbered, though, as the 71-year-old Roger Hall is looking to hang up his stethoscope soon.
"I've been doing this for a long time," he said. "I'm almost done. I will miss it, though."
Pretty soon, when "Dr. Hall" is paged over the RVMC intercom, Brian Hall will know the page is directed at him.
"I'm just glad that I got to work with him as long as I have," he said.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.