TSG Member Spotlight - Larry M. Parker, M.D. Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon TOC Spine Center
Welcome to our regular feature where we introduce you to the local people who bring such creativity and vision to our community. Today, we invite you to meet Dr. Larry Parker.
How many years have you been a Spine Surgeon?
What inspired you to become a surgeon?
Since I was in elementary school I had a laser focus on becoming a doctor. I fought through a few childhood medical issues and spent a lot of time in a doctor’s office. I was attracted to the white coat and always wanted to be on the other side of the equation taking care of people. I initially thought I wanted to be a pediatrician but when I was playing high school sports, I got to see the world of Orthopaedic surgery. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen and I was locked in. I went to college on a premed tract and never looked back.
What is unique about your practice? Is it a business too?
I think that private practice is sometimes misunderstood in terms of how it works. As a surgeon and a partner at TOC, I have the primary responsibility of being a surgeon which is executed in the clinic at TOC and at the hospital in the operating room. I have developed relationships with thousands of patients and their families. I also have the responsibility of helping my partners run the business aspect of TOC. I have 35 partners and we employ over 300 people. Private practice is a one on one relationship business and I think that is pretty unique.
When you’re not working, you’re …
Well, I work a whole lot of hours. Surgery is physically demanding so I work out 4 days a week to stay in shape. A few years back, I fell into the opportunity to help coach youth football and lacrosse. That commitment forced me to carve out some time to spend with my son that I probably would not have done. As a father, I would never take that back. I am very proud to have won an Alabama State U13 Lacrosse title a few years ago! Coaching was so rewarding. Those kids I coached for years are now seniors in high school and freshmen in college. They still call me Coach Parker. They were an awesome group of kids and parents.
Dr. Parker and his son
What does “LOCAL” mean to you?
In my mind, “Local” represents what Huntsville has to offer. I think most of us who live in the area appreciate what a great community we have. I think Huntsville is the best city in Alabama. We have a green environment. We have a vibrant and growing business footprint that brings in people from all over the country to live and work. Our hospitals are world class. I feel really blessed to call Huntsville home.
What’s on your desk right now?
I actually don’t have a desk or an office for that matter. But my administrative responsibilities are very time consuming. I probably dictate and document patient records for about an hour every day. Most doctors hate the medical record part of the business but keeping timely and detailed medical records is definitely a responsibility of being a good physician.
Dr. Parker and his daughter
What do you never leave home without?
I would say my on call pager but in today’s world the mobile device has replaced the pager. My children and their friends look at my pager as something akin to a rotary phone! I want to be available to my patients and staff as much as possible. If I am in town, I’m available to see a patient 7 days a week if necessary. If I’m traveling, I am available by text or phone every day to check on my patients.