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Retired pediatrician goes back to school to become veterinary technician


Leonard Marino, MD, will soon add another set of credentials to his lifetime achievements.

Leonard Marino, MD. Photo courtesy of Long Island Veterinary Specialists.When Leonard Marino, MD, 83, graduates this May from Suffolk County Community College's veterinary technician program he'll have licensed veterinary technician credentials in addition to the medical degree he earned decades ago.

Marino started his career as a pediatrician in 1964, practicing in Plainview, New York, until 1995. After he retired from practice he found his way to Long Island Veterinary Specialists (LIVS) also in Plainview, where his son Dominic Marino, DVM, DACVS, DACCT, CCRP, is chief of staff. The elder Dr. Marino began as editor of the specialty and referral practice's newsletter “LIVS in PlainView,” which serves to educate the veterinary community.

Drs. Dominic and Leonard Marino. Photo courtesy of Long Island Veterinary Specialists.

While he does have a background in human medicine, a desire to better understand the veterinary practice newsletter's technical content led Marino to think about attending a technician training program. “I thought I'd be more qualified to edit the subject matter,” he says. An additional motivation? The opportunity to work in the operating room with his son. “My son said he'd support me and do all that he could to help me earn acceptance [to the program], even though I was older.

“Initially, I was in the online training, but switched to the in-person classes,” Marino says. “I missed that ‘hands-on' element that I was used to with pediatrics. We've worked in all kinds of settings, from the farm to laboratory, and I enjoy it.” And though the students and instructors are much younger and “more vibrant” than Marino, he still enjoys contributing to and participating in the hands-on course.

Marino's favorite thing about working as a technician is being in the operating room with his son. “I've helped with more than 500 hip replacement surgeries,” he says. “I look forward to coming in and being able to actually help my son do what needs to be done to repair the hip. I set up drapes and equipment, use the suction and cautery, hand him clamps and so on during surgery and postoperatively.”

Drs. Marino in the operating room. Photo courtesy of Long Island Veterinary Specialists.

He fondly recounts the story of a pot-bellied pig that needed a hip replacement, “The pig was not supposed to be on the bed, and when his owner came home, he jumped off and injured himself. It was the most unusual case I've worked on, so it sticks out as one of the more interesting.” Marino says.

And he has no plans for slowing down, hoping to continue assisting with surgeries and editing the practice newsletter for as long as he's able. After all, Marino notes, his father lived to be 100. “So I've still got some time,” he says.

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