Dr. Ernspiker Joins Wellmont, Performs Surgeries At Mountain View Regional, Lonesome Pine

Dr. Erich ErnspikerWhen Dr. Erich Ernspiker was about 12, his grandmother suffered a stroke, an experience that profoundly moved him.

"I felt helpless," Dr. Ernspiker said. "I didn't like not being able to help her, and that was the beginning of the process that led me to a career as a physician."

Dr. Ernspiker, a medical doctor, has brought his skills to Southwest Virginia, where he practices with Wellmont Medical Associates Surgery. He serves as a general surgeon at Mountain View Regional Medical Center and Lonesome Pine Hospital.

He comes to the region from Kentucky River Medical Center in Jackson, Ky., where he performed surgeries for three years. Prior to that post, Dr. Ernspiker spent 1 ½ years as a surgeon in Shelbyville, Ky., where he was raised.

To be sure a career in medicine was the right choice, Dr. Ernspiker spent considerable time in hospitals before he entered medical school. He worked as a volunteer in Louisville and then served as a patient care technician in Shelbyville. His work as a tech was particularly valuable because he assisted patients who were unable to take care of themselves.

This experience not only convinced him to become a physician, but it also prepared him well for the level of commitment needed.

"A lot of people in medical school left when they saw how much dedication and hours they would have to spend," Dr. Ernspiker said. "Becoming a physician was the hardest thing I have ever done, but all those days at the hospital earlier in my life gave me the foundation to succeed."

Dr. Ernspiker graduated from the University of Louisville's medical school in 2003. He then completed his residency in surgery at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. During his residency, he performed surgeries at Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center.

An avid hunter and all-terrain vehicle rider, Dr. Ernspiker enjoyed living in the area and was particularly pleased with how physician-friendly Wellmont Health System was. So he joined Wellmont Medical Associates Surgery.

Dr. Ernspiker said he wanted to practice in a smaller community so he could perform an array of surgeries on the neck, chest and abdomen. He performs minimally invasive and laparoscopies surgeries, along with operations for patients with cancer and vascular conditions. He removes appendixes and gallbladders and performs surgeries on the colon and rectal areas and the breast.

 "We're pleased Dr. Ernspiker has joined our medical staff and look forward to his teaming with our other medical providers to continue our tradition of high-quality care at Mountain View Regional and Lonesome Pine," said Fred Pelle, interim president of the two hospitals.

"He brings a strong belief in providing compassionate care in this region, as well as a broad understanding of patient care honed by his earlier experiences in the hospital. He will be an asset to the patients we are privileged to serve in Southwest Virginia."

Dr. Stephen Combs, a medical doctor and chief executive medical officer for Wellmont Medical Associates, said Dr. Ernspiker is an excellent physician who plays an important role in the continuum of care the organization delivers.

"He has developed an excellent skill set that will ensure our patients remain in superior hands when they need care," Dr. Combs said. "We're fortunate to have a number of primary care physicians and a number of specialists in Southwest Virginia who will work in tandem with Dr. Ernspiker to ensure our patients receive the broad spectrum of care when they need it."

Dr. Ernspiker is certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

His office is located at 280 Virginia Ave., Suite 4, Norton. To learn more about him and the surgeries he performs, please call 276-679-2310. Additional information is available at www.wellmontphysicians.org.