When you grow up hearing tales of challenging yet successful surgeries, you might one day want to become a surgeon. That was the case for Dr. Richard Windsor, a urological surgeon with Aurora BayCare Urological Surgeons.
Windsor recalls childhood conversations with his father that centered on his father’s work as a general surgeon in Sheboygan. The conversations were so enthralling to Windsor that by age 6, he pretty much knew he would one day become a doctor.
“I would go on rounds with him, sometimes on Sunday mornings at the hospitals. I’d wait in the waiting area. I didn’t see any patients. He would tell me about surgery and I thought that was always interesting, so I always wanted to be a surgeon,” Windsor says.
One Halloween, Windsor dressed up as a surgeon and entered a city costume contest. “I won the prize … for best costume,” he says, laughing at the memory.
By high school, Windsor occasionally observed surgical cases with his father. He also read and was moved by an article about kidney surgery in the Sheboygan Press by a local urologist (the late Dr. Christopher Graf).
Between his father’s stories, receiving added encouragement from his father’s physician friends and being moved by Graf’s article, Windsor says his mind was made up – he’d follow his father’s footsteps as a surgeon.
But what type of surgeon? He wasn’t sure. He strongly considered general surgery, like his father. Then, in medical school, he was exposed to several surgical possibilities.
“I knew I wanted to be a type of surgeon, I didn’t know what,” he says. “I thought about general surgery, neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery. Then I went to an internship in general surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin.”
While there, Windsor was drawn to urological surgery.
“Urology at the time was the only specialty operating with scopes and more technology,” he says. “They also had a machine called the lithotripsy where we broke up stones from outside of the body, so I thought that was very interesting. At the time, most other surgeries were staying in the hospital for quite a long time and most of urology was outpatient and less invasive. … Urology was further ahead than the other fields.”
Windsor was particularly wowed after seeing a urological procedure called a radical cystectomy. During this surgical treatment for bladder cancer, the surgeon removes and replaces the diseased bladder and may remove some of the surrounding organs, depending on whether the disease has spread.
“Of any type of procedure, that one impressed me the most,” Windsor says. “It’s a six-hour operation … changes the patient’s body more than any other kind of surgery.”
Windsor received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His residency in urology was completed at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
He practiced urological surgery in northeastern Wisconsin for years before joining Aurora BayCare Urological Surgeons in 2016.
Windsor says he enjoys meeting patients and offering them successful surgical solutions to their urological problems.
“I have a mission statement and I’ve always had this for my practice: ‘Provide the highest quality care in the safest, most effective and compassionate manner,’” he says.
In 2019, Windsor earned UroLift Center of Excellence recognition. He’s recognized as an expert in performing a new minimally-invasive treatment called Urolift. It aids men suffering from an enlarged prostate.
Outside of work, you’ll find Windsor spending time with his wife, working on projects around the house, fixing his car, running, biking and sailing around Elkhart Lake, “simple things,” he says. They have three sons and a daughter.
He also visits Sheboygan regularly. His mom still lives there.
Windsor also is still basking in the glow of one of his children’s recent achievements.
His son, Rob, was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round of the 2020 National Football League draft. Rob is a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle who played at Penn State, where Windsor served his urology residency.