Decades of Dedication

By Pam Witt-Hillen, ThedaStar flight nurse

Battlefield proven, George Vidalakis, MD, has endured the challenges and victories of emergency medicine for more than three decades. An emergency room physician since 1982, he has served the community of Shawano for 35 years, treating people’s ailments and sometimes making life versus death decisions for them.

Born and raised in Joliet, Ill., Dr. Vidalakis attended medical school at Southern Illinois University and completed his family residency there. Upon graduation, he pursued a job in family practice but soon discovered his love for the fast pace of rural emergency medicine while moonlighting in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin emergency departments. He enjoyed the intensity of emergency clinical medicine, relying on his skills and knowledge to do what he believed was right for each patient.

“While sometimes there is no end to the line of patients and some of the puzzles are more routine, it is rewarding to make an immediate difference in people’s lives” when called upon, he said. “You need to bring your A-game and zero in and make quick aggressive decisions. My job satisfaction comes from grasping the big picture and doing what I need to for each individual.”

The staff at the ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano Emergency Department attests to Dr. Vidalakis’ high energy, efficiency, empathy and flexibility in treating patients in such a fast-paced environment. He has a great “personal connection to his patients,” they said. “We love working with someone so knowledgeable who loves his work so much. He treats us like his family here.”

Mutually, Dr. Vidalakis identifies his “work family” as what keeps him going too in this busy ED. ThedaCare Appleton cardiologists refer to Dr. Vidalakis as “Cool George,” acknowledging his composure under pressure.

Undoubtedly, Dr. Vidalakis is loved by both staff and patients alike. He has a 35-year resume of incredible clinical experience, impacting so many lives in the Shawano region. He told us he finds “great gratitude in my patients’ appreciation for my care.” We too are all grateful that his career path steered him for the long run to Shawano, Wisconsin.

Dr. Vidalakis lives in Shawano with his wife, Ina. They love motorcycling and baseball. They have a son, Michael, who lives in Florida, and a daughter, Stephanie, attending nursing school in Madison.