Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Dr. Arthur Harris steps down (sort of) after 41 years on staff as ENT specialist
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – When longtime ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Arthur Smith “retired” in December, he may have been the longest active doctor on Mountain States’ medical staffs.
Harris joined the medical staff at the old Memorial Hospital in downtown Johnson City in July of 1975. When he announced his retirement and then enjoyed a farewell celebration in late January at his practice, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates, it marked the end of 41 years on staff for Mountain States.
He’s done surgeries or treated patients at a long list of facilities – the old Memorial Hospital and then its replacement, the current Johnson City Medical Center; the Eye & Ear Hospital in Johnson City (which became Specialty Hospital) and Northside Hospital, then Franklin Woods Community Hospital, which replaced Specialty and Northside; Carter County Memorial Hospital and then at its replacement, Sycamore Shoals Hospital. Harris also served one day at week, for about 25 years, at a clinic on the Veterans’ Administration campus.
Harris stopped doing surgery in 2008, focusing on outpatient services. Despite retiring, he’ll maintain his credentials and remain associated with the practice, with the possibility that he could occasionally see patients at the office if needed. But he is no longer scheduling regular patient visits.
“I’ve been easing into retirement for a while,” Harris said with a laugh. “It’s been a nice transition and that’s made it easier on me and my wife, and on this office, as well.”
Harris is known for his friendly smile and easygoing, helpful manner, something not lost on his colleague, Dr. Mark Howell, who has been with Ear, Nose & Throat Associates since 1984.
“He has always been exceptionally empathetic in caring for his patients,” Howell said. “He’s been an incredible mentor and role model when it comes to working with patients and just how to help people in general.”
Harris has done a broad range of ENT surgeries, including thyroid and facial trauma cases. “I did the smallest to the largest,” he said.
He’s been with ENT Associates through three locations – two on East Watauga Avenue and the current one on Knob Creek Road in the Med Tech Corridor.
“I appreciate all the support and great work of my staff and fellow doctors, and I appreciate so much what Mountain States has done. Obviously they gave me a home,” he said.
Lindy White, VP/CEO for Franklin Woods Community Hospital, told Harris at the farewell reception, “Your legacy will live on” through the example he set, and through his co-workers and patients.
Click here for some photos from the retirement reception.
Asked what he’ll miss most, Harris said, “Seeing my friends in the office and seeing my patients. I won’t schedule any more patients but I’m still on the roster if they need help.”
As for his retirement plans, Harris said he’s already doing them, so he’ll continue to spend time with his wife, Hannah, and to paint, play music, fish, read, and hike and walk about 15 to 20 miles a week.
“I’ve also discovered how nice it is to sleep until 8 a.m.,” he said with a laugh. “The difference in 6 o’clock in the morning and 8 o’clock is huge!”