CLEARFIELD — After 36 years of practice, Dr. Praxidio H. Tagala, obstetrics/gynecology of Clearfield, is retiring.
Tagala said his last office day is Wednesday, December 16, but will be officially retired on Dec. 31, when his license expires.
Tagala estimates he has delivered 4,500 babies in his career. He said he was delivering babies for so long that he was delivering babies of people he once delivered.
But he said he hasn’t delivered babies since 2003 because of the high price of medical malpractice.
“The insurance would have cost me $130,000 a year,” Tagala said.
He said the cost of insurance made it too high for many small town doctors like him to deliver babies. He said many doctors now work for larger medical organizations, which can afford the high price of insurance.
Since 2003 he has focused on surgery, gynecology and women’s health care and in 2005 he received his certification to perform acupuncture.
Tagala said he was recruited to Clearfield by his sister, Dr. Aurora Hipolito, and first visited the town in 1978.
“It’s very nice here,” Tagala said. “It’s quiet and I like the rural atmosphere and the downtown.”
And he said he likes how safe it is and how one can go out for a walk at night and not have to worry.
“I’m really glad we moved here,” Tagala said.
Tagala is originally from the Philippines and after graduating from the University of the East, Ramon Magsaysay medical school, he served his residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia before coming to Clearfield.
Every year for the past 11 years Tagala said he would return to the Philippines for three weeks, two of which he would perform surgery and provide medical care to the poor, and use one week to visit with family and have a vacation.
He was going to go again this year in January, but right before he was to leave, the hospital he was traveling to had an outbreak of COVID-19 and he had to cancel the trip.
And when the pandemic closed his office for several months it planted the seed in his mind that it was time to retire.
In his retirement Tagala said he wants to do more gardening and spend more time with his wife Rebecca and his adult children.
Tagala has three children, two sons, Peter and Paul who live in Arizona, and his daughter Amanda, who lives in Clearfield.
He said he also is learning carpentry by watching Youtube videos but he limits himself to small hand tools because he is afraid of the large power tools.
He said he gets gardening tips from Youtube videos as well.
“I’ll probably be watching a lot of Youtube too,” Tagala said with a laugh.
Tagala said he and his wife will probably stay in Clearfield for a few more years but eventually they will probably move to a farmhouse they own outside of State College.
Tagala said he will miss performing surgery and he said he misses delivering babies, but he said he will miss talking to and joking around with his patients most of all.
But Tagala said he might not give up practicing medicine completely, as he is open to working part-time as a doctor as long as his employer is willing to pay the insurance costs.