Dr. John J. McLaughlin, a board-certified diagnostic and interventional radiologist at Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg (RAF), is a man of many dimensions. He is a medical missionary, meditation instructor, Eastern philosophy enthusiast, classical guitarist, and father of two grown children and two preschoolers.
Dr. McLaughlin was introduced to medicine while he was a college student at the University of San Diego. “One summer, I worked at a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, for which my father served on the board,” Dr. McLaughlin said. “That started my interest in studying medicine and also in working with the underserved.”
He earned his doctor of medicine degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and completed his residency in diagnostic radiology at the Mercy Hospital-Pittsburgh and also at University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore. From there, Dr. McLaughlin worked for 10 years in Buffalo as a diagnostic radiologist, followed by a year fellowship at the University of South Florida in interventional radiology. While at a medical conference in 1998, he learned of a job opening at RAF and soon after moved to Virginia to start his new career.
Today, 20 percent of his time is devoted to diagnostic radiology and 80 percent to interventional radiology (IR), performing minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions. He provides IR services to patients at Mary Washington Hospital, Stafford Hospital, and Virginia Interventional & Vascular Associates (VIVA), which is RAF’s interventional radiology and vascular surgery practice.
“What I like best about my work is we can help relieve our patients’ suffering,” he said. “My favorite procedures are vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, which are minimally invasive procedures for treating painful vertebral compression fractures. For many of our patients, after these procedures are performed, the pain is gone. You can see right away how much better they feel.”
Dr. McLaughlin has taken his knowledge of interventional radiology to points far and wide. Once a year for five years, he has ventured on two-week trips to Asia, including Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, and Burma, to train other physicians in IR procedures. In May 2014, he was in Lima, Peru, for the country’s first IR conference, where he met with 10 specialists from around the world. He hopes to return next year to volunteer at a Peruvian hospital.
Over the years, Dr. McLaughlin has developed a keen interest in mental health and the relationship of the mind to overall health and well-being. His daily practice includes formal sitting meditation and a moving meditation such as yoga or tai chi.
He is a co-founder and teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Fredericksburg and teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on the Mary Washington Hospital campus. “I think of meditation as a kind of ‘internal meteorology,’” he noted. “We can develop a deep awareness of what’s happening inside ourselves and measures we can take to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress.”
Dr. McLaughlin lives near downtown Fredericksburg with his two children, James, 6, and Kate, 4, and his wife, Stacey, an attorney who shares his love of yoga. She is a founding member of Dragonfly Yoga Studio in Fredericksburg. Dr. McLaughlin also has two grown children, Rebecca, 29, and Luke, 27. Daughter Rebecca is following him in a medical career. “She shadowed us here at RAF last year and liked it so much, she’s studying to be a physician assistant.”
An avid reader of Eastern philosophy and science books, Dr. McLaughlin has a special interest in particle physics and cosmology. He also plays the classical guitar. “I studied guitar in high school and picked it up again four years ago,” he noted. “My brother loaned me his Ramirez guitar that he bought in the ‘70s. Like so many things, over time, it just keeps getting better and better.”
Pictured above is Dr. McLaughlin (right) in a sweltering operating room in Vietnam.