“When I was a kid, my family would call me ‘Dr. John,’” recalls Simmons. “Whenever my brothers would get scraped up from playing, I made it my job to dress the wounds and take care of them. I’ve always liked fixing things and solving problems, and being a surgeon goes hand-in-hand with that.”
Dr. Simmons will join Dr. Gregory McDonald and Dr. Thomas Gilbert at Harbin Clinic General Surgery Cartersville at 150 Gentilly Blvd.
“He’s a fantastic addition to the strong team we’ve built here, and an all-around great guy,” says McDonald. “The people of Cartersville – and their internal organs, for that matter – are in good hands.”
Simmons’ history as a medical professional is steeped in stars and stripes, as he served in the United States Army as a top surgeon.
“I trained in San Antonio at the only Level 1 Trauma Center in the military,” Simmons says. “From there, I went to Fort Bragg and deployed to Afghanistan for five months. I came back and got into special operations where I worked for the next four years.”
His medical accolades include being board-certified in general surgery and he served as the Chief of General Surgery at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, N.C., from 2013 to 2017.
Simmons also was also an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., from 2014 to 2017. He completed his undergraduate education at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and received his Medical Doctorate at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.
After serving as a research fellow at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, he completed his residency for general surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center, also in Fort Sam Houston.
Between 2012 and 2017 Simmons served in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other deployments.
While operating on a child burn victim in Afghanistan, Simmons said he felt reinforced in his vocation as a surgeon. The boy, a 4-year-old named Sargit, had been accidentally burned by boiling oil. Simmons recalls that the boy’s father had him transferred to Simmons’ base from where he had been previously hospitalized.
“We took him straight to the operating room as soon as they brought him in,” Simmons says. “We removed the burned skin to prevent infection and got to work on him. We took care of Sargit for probably two months, off and on, before he was healed.”
“That particular experience had a huge impact on me and my career as a surgeon,” Simmons adds. “To have been a part of helping Sargit have more time to be a kid is something that still makes me thankful, even to this day.”
After years of military service, Simmons felt it was time to start a new adventure in a place where his family could plant their roots.
“I’m proud to have been able to serve my country as a surgeon but I’m ready for this new chapter of my career,” says Simmons.
An avid boater and water sportsman, Simmons is particularly looking forward to being close to Lake Allatoona, as well as the area’s other nature offerings such as the North Georgia mountains. His wife Meghan grew up in the area, and the Simmons’ are happy to raise their four children, Jacob, Brooke, Luke and Molly, near family.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be here. I’m looking forward to my career with Harbin Clinic as well as my opportunity to serve the people of Bartow County,” says Simmons.
Harbin Clinic General Surgery Cartersville performs surgeries at Cartersville Medical Center and provides comprehensive routine and follow-up care at the clinic located on Gentilly Boulevard. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Simmons or to learn more about Harbin Clinic General Surgery Cartersville, call 770.382.5919 or visit harbinclinic.com/location/generalsurgery.