Lalitha Raguthu, M.D., is in the business of making young people feel better, and she says her job makes her feel better, too.
The owner of Tendercare Pediatrics (in the Summergate Professional Park behind Sam’s Club off S.R. 56) says she is proud of the relationships she has built in a short time at the practice she bought two years ago. She posts smiling pictures of children on her Instagram page, and takes great pleasure in providing a wealth of services in a convenient manner.
“I am really happy when I am able to connect with a young kid’s outlook on health,” Dr. Raguthu says. “And, since we have been here, we have been very warmly received. It has been very nice.”
Dr. Raguthu and her husband, Durga Chintakayala, M.D., or “Dr. Chinta” for short, own the practice together. The pair also own Blossom Pediatric Care on E. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Tampa, where Dr. Chinta has been in solo practice for the last five years, with Dr. Raguthu occasionally covering for him. Now, she is the primary doctor at Tendercare, and he covers for her at the Wesley Chapel location as needed. “One of us is always here,” Dr. Chinta says.
Dr. Chinta and Dr. Raguthu have been married for 24 years and have two children. Their son, Sahas, is 17, and their daughter Sveta, is 14.
Both doctors have long and varied resumes. The couple moved to New Tampa in 2013, when Dr. Chinta accepted a position in the spinal cord unit at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa. At the same time, they opened Blossom Pediatric Care, and Dr. Raguthu began working at Night Owl Pediatrics on Cross Creek Blvd. in New Tampa.
Prior to that, the couple lived in New York City, where Dr. Raguthu spent three years working in the emergency room at the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and one year in Urgent Care at Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx, NY.
She had previously earned her MBBS degree (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery; equivalent to the M.D. degree in the U.S.) from the Mahadevappa Rampure Medical College in Gulbarga, India. She did her residency at Brookdale University Hospital & Medical Center in Brooklyn and served a one-year fellowship in Neurology at New York University in Manhattan, NY.
During their time in New York, Dr. Chinta worked at the VA New York Harbor Health Care System and also worked as an emergency room physician and urgent care doctor at Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx.
Dr. Raguthu has worked to transform the Wesley Chapel office into a comfortable space that can fill a variety of patient needs.
It begins with accessibility. Dr. Raguthu, who also is trained in urgent care, has expanded her services to include any urgent care needs — like emergency issues such as acute asthma or lacerations — and she accepts walk-ins and same-day appointments, and even Saturday appointments, which she says the parents love.
The rare instances when she is not available to talk on the phone, she says she will always return calls the same day.
“I love that we can get ahold of her anytime we need her,” Christina Bettin says. “It is very convenient to have walk-in or same-day appointments. I really appreciate that there is a nursing room. We highly recommend Tendercare Pediatrics.”
Traditional & Holistic Medicine
Although she is a highly trained M.D., Dr. Raguthu says she does take a holistic approach to medicine, and that she is empathetic to parents who have concerns, for example, about vaccines. She says she tries to accommodate and work with them when other pediatricians won’t.
“Dr. Raguthu is the pediatrician you want to have for your child,” writes Tasnouva Habib. “She is very respectful of how I want my child to be treated and does not (prescribe) medication unless absolutely required. I extremely appreciate the holistic approach she has towards care, which shows me that she cares about the well being of my child in the long run and not just a quick fix. I wish I found her sooner.”
Tendercare Pediatrics also offers school and sports physicals, and Dr. Raguthu can administer allergy testing as well.
“A lot of pediatricians don’t do allergy testing in their own office,” Dr. Raguthu says. “You will have to wait and schedule something at a specialist’s office. This makes it more convenient.”
She is proud to show off the new play area she created in the waiting room, so little ones don’t get antsy if they have to wait a few minutes to see the doctor. She also is thrilled with the great response she gets from parents when they visit her new room for nursing mothers.
“A lot of mothers are breastfeeding, and that’s very important,” says Dr. Raguthu. “We want to give them privacy and encourage breastfeeding, so we created a nursing room just for them.”
Dr. Raguthu is always thinking of more ways to accommodate her patients, even when they ask something as simple as where they should get their child’s ears pierced. It’s a question a lot of parents ask, and the answer is usually the mall.
“One of the mothers asked me, and I said I don’t know…but let me go ahead and start doing it,” Dr. Raguthu says of ear piercing.
Now, she offers the service in her office. Where better to take a child for a procedure that requires a needle, some blood, a little pain and that can be momentarily traumatic for a younger child? And yes, she says she uses a numbing medication to make the procedure as painless as it can be.
Tendercare Pediatrics has grown since Dr. Raguthu took over, and continues to do so. She is accepting new patients, and accepts many insurance plans, including Medicaid and Staywell, which provides managed care services to Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries.
“(Dr. Raguthu) is one of the greatest (pediatricians) I’ve been to,” says Illeana, another satisfied parent who brings her children to Tendercare Pediatrics. “She shows so much compassion when she’s checking our babies. We love her and her office as well. I’m so happy we found her.”
While Tendercare Pediatrics accepts patients from birth to age 21, it may also be expanding those services with Dr. Chinta as a family doctor.
“We are looking into accepting adult patients, too,” Dr. Raguthu says.
Dr. Raguthu also says that she believes that her own personal journey has helped her to be a more empathetic practitioner. She has battled back from a stroke, and has suffered through heartbreak.
“I love kids,” she says. “My husband and I were in medical school when we lost our infant baby, who was three months old. That’s where my interest in pediatrics really started. I can feel the pain of every mother who calls with a concern. I never brush them off.”
Tendercare Pediatrics is located at 27432 Cashford Cir., Suite 102, in the Summergate Professional Park. The office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information about the practice, call (813) 973-9900, visit MyTendercare.com or see the ad on page 42 of this issue.