Dr. Furrow Brings Surgical Skill Honed On Battlefield In Afghanistan To Patients At Bristol Regional

When Dr. Paige Furrow decided to become a general surgeon, she had no idea her career would take her to places as diverse as North Carolina, Idaho, Afghanistan and Bristol.

Now that the Air Force veteran, who achieved the rank of major, is part of the surgical team at Bristol Regional Medical Center, she believes she is in the perfect location.

"My husband and I knew this is where we wanted our children to be raised, and I knew this is where I wanted to grow my general and trauma surgery practice," Dr. Furrow said. "My husband and I are both from Virginia, and we love this area."

She performs a wide range of procedures on the neck, chest and abdomen, including minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopic surgery, colon and rectal surgery, appendix and gallbladder removal, breast surgery, cancer surgery, vascular surgery, endocrine surgery and trauma surgery.

Dr. Furrow comes to Bristol Regional from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. She served four years in the Air Force, six months of which was spent caring for soldiers in Afghanistan. Her experiences in that country changed her life and sharpened her focus.

"It is hard to put into words how I felt about treating soldiers in Afghanistan," she said. "The best parts for me were helping people who needed help, contributing back to the United States and using what I learned to help soldiers."

Service in Afghanistan kept Dr. Furrow busy, with an estimated 98 percent of her cases being trauma surgeries. When she returned to the United States, she rarely saw traumas at the hospital.

"It was hard to readjust when I got back," she said. "For six months, I was so busy. There were no days off there. Then I came back to a regular hospital with no trauma unit and a much slower pace."

Dr. Furrow knew that building a practice with trauma and general surgery patients was important to her. Finding a balance between trauma and general surgery led her to Bristol Regional, where she is a member of the medical staff. She practices with Bristol Surgical Associates.

"One of the reasons I wanted to come to Bristol Regional is that here I have the opportunity to work with a mix of general and trauma patients," she said. "It is the perfect place for me."

In addition to performing a broad range of surgeries, Dr. Furrow works with patients in the hospital's Level II trauma center.

Another attraction to Bristol Regional was the collaboration she saw among the surgeons. It reminded her of Afghanistan, where four or five general surgeons worked with neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and ophthalmologists.

"I had never seen camaraderie among surgeons like I saw when I worked in Afghanistan, and that became very important to me," she said. "I learned so much about surgery, and about life, from serving there with these other physicians. We all pitched in to do whatever we needed to do to help our patients.

"When I came to Bristol Regional, I saw surgeons working together in that fashion and I liked it."

Since her arrival in September, Dr. Furrow has seen patients with a variety of general and trauma surgery needs. In addition to bringing the skills she so carefully honed in her training and in her work at Mountain Home Air Force Base and in Afghanistan, she also brings a great deal of compassion to her patients in Bristol.

"I find it gratifying to immediately affect the health of others," she said. "I am dedicated to providing individualized care to all of my patients."

Dr. Furrow earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and completed her residency at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We are grateful a physician such as Dr. Furrow, who served with distinction on behalf of our country, has joined our medical staff," said Greg Neal, Bristol Regional's interim president. "She brings excellent credentials to our hospital and will continue the tradition of high-quality care delivered by all our physicians. We look forward to her contributions and the improvement she will make in her patients' health."