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LCMH Welcomes New General Surgeon

Dr. Anne Barnwell-Grayson joins Lawrence County Memorial Hospital as new General Surgeon
As a child of the “Star Trek” era, Anne Barnwell-Grayson says she knew very early that she wanted to be either a starship captain or a surgeon. Since being a starship captain really wasn’t an option, the latter won out, and after a lengthy career that has taken her to both the eastern and western regions of the United States, she’ll start as the new general surgeon at Lawrence County Memorial Hospital one week from today. “In a lot of ways, those two careers were similar,” said Barnwell-Grayson, the daughter of an esteemed surgeon. “(Starship captains) had fazers and we work with lasers. They had communicators, I have a pager. When I’m in the operating room, I’m the commander.”  

Barnwell-Grayson is more than ready to take command in the LCMH operating suite. She first visited Lawrence County in the spring, and says the community is a lot like the one in Chesterfield County, Virginia, where she grew up. “I like a hometown feel,” she said. “When I first came here and introduced myself, I said, ‘Wow, I’m home.’ Barnwell-Grayson prefers the rural setting, because “you still have the opportunity to do medicine the old-fashioned way.”  

“What I’ve found lately is that they’re using all these new terms,” she said. “When they decided to make medicine a business - an assembly line - they thought it was a great idea. But now, the people who did that are finding out that we had it right to begin with. They’re coming up with a whole lot of new terminology for old-fashioned medical care, and we’re going back to more of that. In a small community, I think it affords you the time to give that personal touch, which is very important to me.”  

One thing that attracted Barnwell-Grayson to Lawrence County Memorial Hospital was the state-ofthe-art operating suite, which opened in January of 2014, as well as the experienced surgical staff. “It was lovely. It’s shiny-new, and I like shiny-new,” she said. “It’s an impressive suite, and I’m also excited about the staff, the team. I’ve had some time to start to gel with my team and I’ve really got a good feel. I think it’s going to be a great experience to work with people who appear to be so eager.”  

Barnwell-Grayson has admittedly “moved around a lot” in her adult life, but says she’s ready to settle down. She aspires to “become a part of the community.” “Some people plant deep roots,” she said. “And some people have roots that have spread far, which I’ve always felt has been my story. But at this point I feel like it’s time for me to add some depth. I think this is a community in which I can do that very easily.”  

Barnwell-Grayson says she had a leg up when pursuing her career because her father, Benjamin Barnwell, was well known and respected within the surgical field. She recalls the day she was in kindergarten, when she accidentally shoved her brother out of a high-flying swing, resulting in his forehead scraping a chain-link fence. The young sibling was bleeding profusely, making a trip to the emergency room a necessity. Barnwell-Grayson thought she’d killed him. “When we drove in, my dad was standing on the curb,” she said. “When I saw him, I felt the greatest sense of relief. I knew that everything was going to be all right.”

That’s the day, Barnwell-Grayson says, she chose being a surgeon over being a starship captain. “I think that’s when I knew,” she said. “When somebody was sick or hurt, I wanted to be the one who was able to do something about it.”  

Barnwell-Grayson said her training started, informally, when she was 12 years old. Her father had taken her into the operating room, so she could witness a minor surgery. “I’d made my decision, and my father was the type of person who was going to do everything he could to help me,” she said. “I was at quite an advantage, having him.” As soon as she could, she began working in his office, starting in the file room. “I learned the terminology,” she said. “And I started filling out insurance forms.” When she got to college, she started going into the operating room with her dad on a routine basis. “By the time I was in medical school, I was his first assistant,” she said. “That was very advantageous for me. I think if I had not had that previous experience with him, I would have been at a disadvantage.”  

At Lawrence County Memorial Hospital, Barnwell-Grayson says she’ll be doing all of the “bread and butter” surgeries. That includes hernia surgeries, gall bladder surgeries, mastectomies, colonoscopies, etc. More complex issues, she says, need to be handled at “bigger centers.” “Each situation needs to be considered on an individual basis,” she said. “We need to make sure that we can provide the services and do what’s safest for the patient. If there is a service that we can provide here, that’s what we want to do.”
Despite all the changes that have taken place in the medical field since she started, Barnwell-Grayson says one thing hasn’t changed. “I still, without a doubt, think it’s the most honorable profession,” she said. “Maybe your religious leaders might have a higher calling, but after that I don’t think there’s any higher calling than medicine.”
Education and training  • Bachelor of Science - Zoology: Duke University, Durham, North Carolina., May, 1980  • Doctor of Medicine: Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C., May,  1985  • General Surgery Residency: Howard University Hospital, Washington, D.C., June, 1990  • Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship: St. Vincent Health Center, Erie, Pennsylvania,  June, 1991  • Master of Business Administration: Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New  Mexico, May 2014
Professional experience  • Surgeon: Rectal and Colon Surgery, Inc., Erie, Pennsylvania, July 1991-Dec. 1995.  • Founder and Lead Surgeon: Anne Barnwell-Grayson, M.D, P.C., Petersburg, Virginia,  Jan. 1996-Oct. 2004.  • Surgeon and Lead Physician: Plains Regional Medical Group, Clovis, New Mexico, Nov.  2004-July 2007.  • Surgeon and Chief of Medical Staff: Roosevelt General Hospital Rural Health Clinic,  Portales, New Mexico, Aug. 2007-Aug. 2013.  • Surgeon: Twin County Physician Practices, Galax, Virginia, Sept. 2013-May 2017.
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