New physician on call for ears, noses and throats

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wednesday marked yet another new era for Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital as they welcomed Otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat) Dr. Jim Walburn to Demopolis.

Walburn and his associates have run a very successful clinic in Tuscaloosa for over three decades and felt they could fulfill a need for Demopolis as well. Yesterday, Walburn made his first appearance in Demopolis, but said he has conducted similar clinics.

“Today is our first clinic in Demopolis, but we have been in Tuscaloosa for 33 years,” Walburn said. “We were doing a similar clinic in Fayette for the last five years and we decided we would like to venture to Demopolis and offer office space treatment initially and then expand surgery.”

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By 10:30 a.m., Walburn had already seen his fair share of patients. But, Walburn said, having a full slate was a good sign.

“We have seen ear infections, sinus infections, tonsil infections and a deviated septum,” Walburn said. “We have had a pretty busy clinic, which we are very pleased about, especially since it is our first clinic.”

Hospital CEO Mike Marshall said they were very pleased to have Walburn on board. He said this was another example of the hospitals desire to bring services to Demopolis that had once been an hour’s drive away.

“We are certainly happy to have him around,” Marshall said. “This was something we wanted to add to help us serve the age group of 18 to 35 year olds better. This is just another way we are trying to reach out to the community so they don’t have to drive to places like Tuscaloosa to get these services.”

All indications, Marshall said, show potential for their new program to grow.

“We think this program is going to be a winner,” Marshall said. “He has 11 people scheduled today and he will continue coming every other Wednesday until we see the need to expand to weekly visits.”

Once they build volume in their visits, Marshall said, the plan is to add surgery to the mix, which could happen as quickly as next month.

Initially, Walburn treats outpatient general ear, nose and throat problems, allergies, hearing loss and hearing aides.

Walburn, who is a lifelong resident of Alabama, has a very extensive background in his field. After graduating from Greenville High School in 1958 and completing undergraduate work at The University of Alabama in 1962, Walburn headed to the Medical College of Alabama. In 1966, Walburn began a residency in ear, nose and throat medicine until 1971.

He then spent two years serving his country in the United States Air Force before joining Dr. Ed Shotts in 1973 to begin their partnership in Tuscaloosa.

Outside the office, Walburn is involved in several medical organizations. He has served on the Board of Censors and the Board of Medical Examiners for the Public Health Department.

Since 2000, he has been with the Medical Licensure Commission for the state of Alabama.

Through the years, Walburn said, he has made several good friends in Demopolis in his profession. Already, he said, he has found a relationship at the hospital where they can be mutually helpful.

“Everyone has been very helpful and they have provided us with a nice, clean clinic,” Walburn said. “We brought our nurse Amy Hinsey to help us with training and be sure we had everything in order.”