“The reason I got into pain management is that, as a resident, I saw people who were dying and in pain,” Dr. Simpson said. “People were afraid to give them pain medication because they were dying. That was disturbing for me. But that was the practice of medicine 20 years ago.”
The doctor began his residency in anesthesia but spent the last six months in pain management. Back then, no fellowships were offered in pain management, according to Dr. Simpson, who was raised in Brunswick, Tenn., on the outskirts of Memphis.
After completing his education, including medical school at ETSU, Dr. Simpson joined the Army and served at the Lyster Army Health Clinic as chief of Anesthesia and Operative Services. He also started a pain clinic.
“The clinic became so popular that there were even generals who would fly in,” Dr. Simpson recalled. “It was a small base, Fort Rucker (in Alabama), and they were sending people to see me from all over the place.”
After three years, he left the Army ranked as a major and started working at Holston Anesthesia Associates where he was again asked to start a pain practice. Within three years, Dr. Simpson was seeing approximately 30 patients a day. The pain practice was eventually closed and Dr. Simpson stayed on with the anesthesia group for a few years. Then he moved to Indian Path Hospital, where he wanted to open another pain clinic. Once the clinic was opened, Dr. Simpson quit working in the hospital’s operating room as an anesthesiologist and concentrated solely on the pain clinic, which opened in September.