Photo by Isaac Harrell
"I'm hoping to get three-day or four-day weekends now," Dr. John D. Bowman says with a laugh. After retiring this year from a career of more than three decades as an orthopedic surgeon, he still has his hands full as he continues working with OrthoVirginia, as well as local health boards.
In Richmond magazine's Top Doctors survey, Bowman received nominations from his peers for lifetime achievement. "It's really good to be a public servant and be able to make everyone's life a little better," says Bowman. "It's been a wonderful 37 years."
As a surgeon, Bowman specialized in foot and ankle surgery, as well as hip and knee replacements.
"There are countless grateful patients out there whose limbs Dr. Bowman has saved," says Dr. Jeffrey Wilson, an orthopedic surgeon who has worked with Bowman for nearly two decades. "He has set a standard that we all aspire to."
Lori Talley, a patient with whom Bowman remains in touch, says, "My life is better than it's ever been because of him." Talley, 51, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and after three bouts of the disease and two bone marrow transplants, she was cured. But, the intense radiation from her treatments ravaged the nerve endings in her feet, leaving her with circulation problems and chronic pain – and Bowman with no choice but to amputate both of her legs below the knee. Talley is now pain-free and wears prosthetics, which, she says, allow her to walk just like someone who has both legs intact.
Bowman has also shared his medical expertise during mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua, helping patients with everything from fractures to tumors. As a result of those trips, both his daughters chose medical careers, one as a doctor and the other as a nurse.
Now in his seventh year serving as a member of Bon Secours Richmond's Joint Hospital Board, Bowman helps to oversee the system's acute-care hospitals. He also is the secretary of the board at MedVirginia, an organization that improves health-care services by providing doctors and nurses with instantaneous access to a patient's records through a Web portal. And through OrthoVirginia, he is working with information technology, compliance and regulations with patient data.