Top Doctors: The Reigning Champs

We've asked local physicians to choose the Top Doctors four times. These reigning champs have earned a place on every single list.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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Dr. Lux

Dr. Gregory Lux

 

Allergy/Immunology & Pediatrics (Allergy), St. John's Clinic, Smith Glynn Callaway Clinic

 

Dr. Gregory Lux just wants to help you breathe. Whether you're a child or an adult or a pilot in the Air Force, he just wants you to be able to breathe. That might sound like a simple mission, but it's a bigger deal than you think, especially when we're talking about Air Force pilots. For three years during his 20 years in the Air Force, Lux was the sole allergist for American forces stationed in Europe, where he was working at the Wiesbaden USAF Medical Center in what was West Germany at the time. He trained the personel who administered allergy shots at 35 Navy and Air Force hospitals in Europe, and he says that when pilots were flying at 40,000-foot altitudes in un-pressurized cabins, sinus problems became the No. 1 cause for crashes at that time. He was on a mission to keep those pilots healthy.

But Lux had chosen the military before he ever chose a life in medicine. He entered the United States Air Force Academy when he was just 17 years old, and what he really wanted to be was an astronaut or a pilot. But during his sophomore year, he took a mandatory life sciences class and did well enough in it that his instructor encouraged him to go into medicine. The Air Force offered to sponsor him in medical school. "I graduated [from the United States Air Force Academy] magna cum laude, and my first assignment was to go to medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans," he says. "So I was on active duty in medical school instead of Vietnam."  After medical school, Lux went on to become board- certified in pediatrics and a specialty in allergies. At the time, the world of medicine was just learning about asthma as a disease and figuring out how to treat it. The Air Force was interested in learning how to treat asthma because, at the time, it was affecting large numbers of troops. Lux became a flight surgeon to take care of those patients. When he was in Germany, he loved teaching patients how to take care of themselves and control their asthma, and he liked teaching doctors the same things.

Today, that's still his goal as an allergy specialist, and he treats patients of all ages. He says we've come a long way in terms of what we know about respiratory allergies and asthma. He was mentored along the way by Dr. Bob Jacobs, the training director for Lux's allergy program who told him stories about how asthma was treated before they understood it. Jacobs told Lux that doctors used to sedate the mother of an asthmatic child because they thought the problem was that the mother's anxiety was being transferred onto the child. Originally from Ohio, Lux moved around the country during his time with the Air Force. "I kept telling the Air Force to send me to Ohio, and they kept sending me to the Gulf Coast," he says. "I've had houses in Mississippi, Florida and New Orleans, and I had a hurricane at each one. So I don't like the Gulf Coast." In 1994, when Lux retired from the Air Force, he found a place for himself at St. John's in Springfield where he can work with a large number of primary care physicians and teach them how to treat their asthmatic patients, much like he did when he was stationed in Germany. He works with doctors and patients as far east as West Plains, as far west as Nevada and as far north as Camdenton. And he gives lectures on the treatment of hay fever and asthma at Hammons Heart Institute's annual disease management program.

At home, Lux is more a family man than the globetrotting flight surgeon he once was. He lists fly fishing among his hobbies. (He has a 25-inch brown trout that he caught in Lake Taneycomo.) His oldest son, Kevin, is an attorney at Greensfielder Law Firm in St. Louis. His other son, Brian, will join the Secret Service after the new year. And his daughter, Colleen, is in law school right now. "Mom was in law school when I met her," Lux says of his wife, Marie. "But I got her out," he jokes. "I saved the world from one attorney at least."

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