After nearly 38 years of continuous orthopedic practice at Mid-Tennessee Bone & Joint, Dr. Doug Wilburn retired from our clinic at the end of April 2020.
From his first steps into the office to his last day here, Dr. Wilburn embodied an easygoing and poised presence at the Clinic. Always willing to stay until the very last patient has been seen, he was known for usually being the last doctor out the door at the end of his day. He considered himself an educator and worked to make sure patients knew what they could do in order to take care of themselves.
Dr. Wilburn graduated from Lipscomb University with a degree in chemistry, but it wasn’t until he was close to graduation before he began thinking about a career in medicine. “I was about to graduate from college and someone put the idea in my head that I ought to go to med school,” he said. “After mulling it over and realizing it would be a good job, I decided to pursue it.”
Dr. Wilburn received his medical doctorate from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and practiced at Centerville Medical Center. He completed his internship at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, TN, and later completed his residency at Baroness Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN.
“I was always interested in orthopedics,” he said. “I think one of the most interesting things about orthopedics is you get a chance to work with a wide variety of patients, a wide variety of diseases, so it’s never dull. You’re also working with a lot of things that people get over and get better from, so to be able to cure several of these orthopedic issues is a plus.”
Upon graduation from residency in 1982, Dr. Wilburn was faced with the question of where to begin his practice. At the time, Dr. Ken Moore and Dr. Eslick Daniel had established our Clinic and were looking for another partner. After meeting with them, Dr. Wilburn was convinced Columbia would be a great place to practice and raise a family. Time proved him right, and Dr. Wilburn has never regretted his decision. He feels very fortunate to have been here his entire professional career.
His practice through the years began with some trauma work and sports medicine, but eventually grew to include more patients with back and spine ailments. He always recognized that orthopedic diseases and injuries can be traumatizing to patients, both physically as well as psychologically.
“Someone with a broken hip thinks, ‘am I going to be able to walk again, am I going to be able to resume my independence,’ so being able to help those patients get back to their routine and the things they enjoy is very satisfying.”
Professionally, Dr. Wilburn is most proud of how the Clinic has grown over the years, both in the numbers of physicians on staff and in the types of services we provide to patients. And while orthopedics has changed a lot over the last 38 years, he recalls that we have continued our commitment to provide high quality care, provide a family atmosphere for our staff, and keep our patients happy. “The last three decades have brought rapid changes in orthopedics,” he said. “By keeping up with those trends, we’ve stayed at the forefront of providing unsurpassed care to the community.”
Associates who have worked closely with Dr. Wilburn over the years are quick to compliment him on his work ethic and genuine nature. One associate recalled that Dr. Wilburn was always the first to lead the prayer at the company Christmas party each year, kicking off the festivities with a blessing and genuine thanks for all that we have. Tina Faulkner, Director of Operations Support, says, “Dr. Wilburn is the kindest and best person that I know, and he was a joy to work with for 35 years.”
Along with the sincere memories comes at least one funny and memorable story shared by Dr. Jeffrey Adams. Several years ago, Dr. Wilburn left work at the end of the day and went to the gym, got on a stationary bike with a book, and managed to lose track of time. Dr. Wilburn’s wife became quite concerned well after midnight when he hadn’t come home and she couldn’t locate him. The Columbia Police found Dr. Wilburn still at the gym around 2:00 a.m. engrossed in his bike and still spinning the pedals!
Giving back to the community is a big part of the Clinic’s mission, and something that Dr. Wilburn emulated during his tenure. He was an avid supporter of Columbia Academy when his children attended, serving as a board member for 12 years and as Chairman of the board for four years. He also lent his medical skills as a football team physician for nearly 30 years with both Columbia Academy and Columbia Central High School.
Professionally, Dr. Wilburn served as Chief of Staff at Maury Regional Medical Center in 1995 and is a member of several medical groups, including the Maury County Medical Society, Tennessee Medical Society, American Medical Association, and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Dr. Wilburn and his wife, Beth, have lived in Columbia since 1982. Together they raised three children, all having graduated from Columbia Academy. They also have four grandchildren, all of whom Dr. Wilburn is looking forward to spending more time with in retirement.
Dr. Wilburn had a few final words regarding his time at MTBJ. “I always thought Mid-Tennessee Bone & Joint was an enjoyable place to work. I have tried to provide a positive atmosphere for happy patients and maintain good working relationships with other doctors. I just always enjoyed the association with the staff who certainly make it easier to deliver medicine and for patients to receive care.”