ALBANY, Ga. -- A physician in one of the nation's most sought-after specialties departed in 2008 for a change in scenery.
Now he is back.
Dr. Harry Weiser, who touts more than 20 years of experience in neurosurgery, is practicing in Albany again.
Weiser worked in the Albany area in 2002-08. He left for a position in Gulfport, Miss., while his family stayed in Albany so that his wife, Joyce Weiser, could keep her auto shop business. He returned in March.
"I left because I was offered a job by a friend of mine," Weiser said. "My wife decided she didn't want to sell her business and I was under a contract obligation. When my contract was up, I decided to come back."
Weiser was first motivated to go into medicine by his mother.
"She said I was going to be a doctor," he recalled. "She wanted to be a doctor and wasn't able to do it."
When considering a specialty, Weiser was at first leaning toward cardiovascular surgery. Along the way, he came into contact with two neurosurgeons who had a profound impact on him.
"I liked the selection of surgeries they were doing," he said.
Since that time, he has not regretted his change of heart.
"This is probably the best specialty I could be in," Weiser said. "There is a technical edge that I like, and when I help somebody, I really help somebody.
"I like the challenges and use of technology. I see myself as a problem-solver."
Indeed, neurosurgery is a bold commitment -- which could be one of the reasons why there currently aren't enough physicians in the specialty to go around.
"It's a national problem," Weiser said. "It's a huge commitment and a huge sacrifice. Unless you are dedicated, there is not a lot of economic incentive (to go into neurosurgery)."
Now that he is back in the area, he is also determined to get more involved with the community. Weiser is an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts, and he is also involved with his synagogue -- Temple B'Nai Israel.
"As a member of the community, it is my responsibility to do some things," he said.
Having been a Boy Scout himself, he has a key understanding of the impact the organization can have on an individual.
"They teach values," Weiser said. "That's why I've been successful."
Community involvement and work keeps him busy, but during his spare time, he likes to travel. He and his wife have been to various cities throughout Europe.
"Having the wandering spirit, we've gone to several places," Weiser said.
Weiser, who was born in Augusta, had a mother who was from Germany and a father active in the military. This made for cultural experiences most people would not get in their youth.
"I lived half of my life in Europe by age 16," he said. "By the time I was 10-years-old I could speak fluent German."
Weiser is a diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and a member of the American College of Surgeons, North American Spine Society, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Georgia Neurosurgical Society and the Georgia Medical Association. He completed his medical studies at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and his internship at Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
He completed his general surgery residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, after which he did his neurosurgery residency at the University of Connecticut and Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn.
Weiser also has a history of military service. He is a retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army.
It was during his time in the service that he was able to develop a reputation as something more than just a doctor.
"Doctors in the military were seen as non-military," he said. "I showed those guys I wasn't just a doctor."
While in the military, he spent much of his time serving at Veterans Affairs medical facilities in Augusta and El Paso, Texas.
"Neurosurgery has to be in a unit, so I had to be at a medical center," Weiser explained.
"I was fortunate to stay in Augusta for as long as I did."
Weiser served in the military for a total of 23 years. As fate would have it, he almost didn't serve at all.
"There was no way I was going into the military," he said. "But, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet a ROTC recruiter and they offered to pay my tuition."
Weiser is currently the only physician at his practice, Palmyra Brain & Spine Center. There are plans for growth in the future -- which includes maintaining enough business to bring in a second physician.
"We are advertising that we are available," Weiser said. "We growing to have enough business (to bring in another physician), and it's just a matter of getting the word out.
"Things are getting busier."
At Palmyra Brain & Spine Center, Weiser is able to provide expertise on spine and instrumentation surgery, brain tumor surgery, peripheral nerve surgery, cerebral vascular surgery and image guided surgery. The practice's office is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located at the Palmyra Park Physician Center. All patients are seen by appointment.
For more information, call (229) 420-1464 or visit www.pbscenter.com.