Ballinger Clinic welcomes Dr. Paul Linden to staff, adding a second full-time internist

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

BALLINGER — Dr. Paul Linden is the newest physician to take up practice at the Ballinger Clinic.

Linden recently completed medical school and his residency in San Antonio before moving to west Texas. He started work at the clinic in August, but due to the coronavirus pandemic there wasn't a welcoming event. 

"Moving during a pandemic is weird. You try to avoid meeting people because of the virus. My wife and I didn't want to increase our risk of catching the virus," he said.

Dr. Paul Linden is the newest physician at Ballinger Clinic. Linden is an internist who started working at the clinic in August.

Linden and his wife, Nam, settled here with their 7-year old twins. Nam is a Hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Linden came a long way to settle in Ballinger as he's originally from an island in Hawaii,.

"This was an opportunity that just landed in my lap and I'm pretty happy about that," he said.

Linden is an internist at the clinic, joining Dr. Alan Hardwicke as the other full-time clinic doctor, although there are as many as four doctors working at the clinic at times.

Linden described what an internist does, "Sometimes, you almost need a doctor to tell you what kind of doctor/specialist that you need to go to. As care gets more and more complicated, you need an internist to coordinate for you, such as with tests or specialists." 

Internal Medicine primarily deals with adults, 18 years of age and older, who have chronic health conditions.

One aspect of west Texas that Linden is almost jovial about is the commute to and from work. 

"I'm very happy not to drive in traffic for 2 hours every day," he said. "It really does cut into your quality time. Just dropping the kids off at school in the mornings can be time consuming. Now we don't have to worry about that."

West Texas isn't as remote as some of the islands in Hawaii, but Linden understands what it's like to have to travel to see a specialist, "Back in my hometown, on our island, you have to jump on a plane to see a specialist, pretty much."

While the lengthy commute in west Texas is missing, it's also missing one of Linden's passions, "I love to surf."

Fortunately he's found a place to surf, "I found the BSR Surf Ranch in Waco. I bought a wet suit so that I can surf there while it's cold. I wish that I could drive there once a week."

In addition to surfing, the doctor keeps fit by lifting weights and riding his Peloton stationary bike, which offers online participation.

Linden is at the clinic Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. He also helps provide care for the 2 nursing homes in Ballinger.