Dr. John Whitfield recently joined Mercy Clinic Surgical Specialists – 10012 Kennerly with a focus on colorectal surgery. Being from the South, Dr. Whitfield imagined serving patients somewhere in the Southeast until he stumbled across the opportunity to move to St. Louis. Now, he and his family are amazed at what the St. Louis area has to offer. They have gone from trying to find something to do during his time away from the hospital to trying to decide which activities they want to do most since they don’t have time to do it all.
Did you always know you wanted to be a doctor?
I first became interested in medicine, and surgery specifically, when I took an advanced biology class my senior year of high school. It was heavy on dissection and anatomy, and I found it fascinating. I followed a pre-med track through college with the intent on pursuing surgery, and I haven't deviated since!
What drew you to your specialty?
Without question, the most common question patients ask me is why I chose colorectal surgery as a specialty. It really is a great field. Practicing colorectal surgery allows me to take care of a wide variety of patients and ailments. I have the opportunity to treat cancer patients and help cure them of an otherwise terminal process, and I also get to take care of patients with smaller anorectal problems. While hemorrhoids, fissures and other anorectal issues may be benign, they never feel small to the patient suffering from them, and I find these to be some of the most grateful patients when they feel better. Colorectal surgery also allows me to use advanced surgical technology, and I am a huge proponent of robotic surgery.
What made you want to join Mercy?
Mercy was not originally on my radar when I started my job search early this year. A recruiter reached out to me, and after interviewing, I was very impressed with the Mercy system. Mercy struck me as an organization that its physicians can be proud to be a part of, and I am excited to join the team.