Meet Dr. Leal

Doctor Al Leal

 

'You Can Call Me Al'

Upbeat, personable, down-to-earth – someone who greets you with a hug and makes you laugh.

That’s how patients describe Dr. Al Leal, who started Hematology and Oncology Consultants of Pennsylvania as a solo practitioner in 2004.

Patients also say they regard Dr. Leal as humble – and he graciously agrees.

“I learn more from my patients and their families than they learn from me,” he says.

Board certified in hematology and medical oncology, Dr. Leal became interested in medicine after graduating with a degree in economics – that’s right, economics – from The University of Pennsylvania.

With a gift for caring for people and making them feel at ease, he followed up his time at Penn by earning a medical degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.  After an internship and residency at Abington Memorial Hospital, also in Philadelphia, he returned to Hahnemann University Hospital to complete his fellowship.

Dr. Leal’s clinical interests include head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal malignancies, lung cancer, the lymphomas, coagulation disorders and benign blood disorders. But beyond addressing these conditions, the most gratifying aspect of medical practice to Dr. Leal is interacting with his patients.

Whether he is talking with a patient he has known for 20 minutes or 20 years, he encourages them to call him “Al” instead of “Dr. Leal.”

“Think about it,” he says. “When people come to Hematology and Oncology Consultants of Pennsylvania, they put their lives in the hands of a stranger. If someone is putting their life in my hands, they should be allowed to call me by my first name.”

Many patients even come to think of Al as an honorary member of their family, a sentiment that he considers the highest compliment he could possibly receive.

While every individual is unique, and every medical situation is different, Al offers this advice when a difficult diagnosis is received:

“You have a say where you get your care,” he affirms. “So make sure you choose a place where your doctor and the staff explain everything in a way you understand – a place that allows you to fully participate in the decision-making process. Choose a doctor who treats you with respect and consideration, and whose only concern is what is in your best interest. First and foremost, you want a doctor who understands that your treatment has to be well-tolerated, both physically and emotionally.”

When he’s not spending time with patients, Al enjoys cooking. He and his wife (who does the baking) live in Carlisle, where their four cats keep them company.