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Orthopedic surgeon moves practice to Manteca
Dr. Bliss Clark takes a minute out to chat in his new Manteca practice suite on East North Street across from Doctors Hospital. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bliss Clark, who moved from Texas to Manteca, has demonstrated his compassion by helping a visiting Oregon high school football quarterback whose insurance was not accepted in California. 

Having just opened his Manteca practice on East North Street across from Doctors Hospital, Clark overlooked the invalid insurance and took care of the teen’s badly broken hand injured while playing with friends over Christmas vacation.

Clark’s maternal grandmother “Clemmie” was probably just as instrumental as anyone else for the compassion he demonstrates in his practice.

He described her as a very warm and gracious person. 

“I never saw or heard her say anything negative about anyone.  She was always positive and upbeat,” the doctor said of his early years in Connecticut.

His grandmother and her sister Alice lived together in Putman, Conn., where he and his siblings would go on the weekends and learn to play cards.

“First it was Canasta, and then Bolivia, and finally bridge.  We’d go up and play bridge all weekend long – they liked that,” he said. 

Grandma Clemmie was a great cook, he said, probably where he got the urge to cook a little bit including his stews, spaghetti and putting things on the grill.

Clark’s practice includes treating fractures, managing arthritis and looking at the medical and surgical treatment of arthritis with an emphasis on joint replacement surgery of the knees.

“I don’t do back surgery,” he said, “but I welcome people with back problems that can be handled other than surgically.  I am happy to help them in that way.”

Clark’s father, Dr. Bliss B. Clark, was a general surgeon in Connecticut and his brother is a hospital administrator of a large facility in that state.

Clark said that his move to the Central Valley has allowed him to shed the responsibilities of office management having found a management group in Modesto – The Greater Modesto Medical Surgical Association which is run by the nationally respected med 3000.

He said the knowledge that he and his wife, Robin, wouldn’t have to be taxed by the day-to-day office bookkeeping duties changed everything for them for the better.  Clark is the first doctor in Manteca to contract with the Greater Modesto Medical Surgical Association.  The management group staff currently runs the practices of several primary care doctors, internists, urologists, general surgeons and a neurosurgeon in Modesto, he noted.

A native of New Britain, Conn., in the central part of the state, Clark joined the army at 20 years old after two years of college.  He was stationed in Georgia for training at Fort Gordon. 

As a clinical specialist – described as a “super medic” – he got orders to Hawaii where he served with the 25th Infantry Battalion.   Following his discharge he returned to Augusta and applied to medical school having made friends in that community.

“When I got accepted into the Medical College of Georgia, I received a Navy scholarship for medical school – went into the Navy and did my internship at Balboa Hospital in San Diego.  Then I went on to do my orthopedic residency at Balboa,” he said.

He noted that between his internship and his residency, the Navy required a year of service as a general medical officer – which is like a primary care doctor.

Clark spent most of that year of service at Diego Garcia, a small island in the Indian Ocean, that was being used as a staging point for various military actions on their way to the Middle East.

Spending the remainder of his naval service at the Long Beach Naval Hospital, he moved to Harlington, Texas, on his release to be near his parents who had moved there from the East Coast.   Clark joined a joint replacement specialist with the agreement that he would be a sports medicine specialist where he practiced for some 10 years.  The surgeon then joined a practice with three orthopedists for a year and a half.

Clark and his wife – who had been a vice president for the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego – set up a solo medical practice in Harlington that lasted for some seven years.

He has two daughters, Morgan, 15 and Geneva,17.  They attend high school in Tracy.