Craig R. Smith, MD, MBA, FACS, specializes in acute and critical care surgery.
Dr. Smith sees patients at:
555 North New Ballas Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
Please call 314-991-4644 for an appointment.
What happened in the course of schooling to influence you to choose your specialty?
The most influential person to help guide me toward a career in medicine was my high school biology teacher. He made human anatomy and biology labs fun and interesting.
How many years of experience do you have and how does your experience impact patient outcomes?
I have 20 years of surgical experience beyond my residency, and a lot of that initially was open surgery. A lot has changed in 20 years, and although I currently perform laparoscopic and robotic surgery, having a comfort level and experience with open surgery and complex surgical patients has proven helpful every day. Knowing when not to operate is just as important as knowing when to operate. Often there is a fine line between operating too soon and operating too late.
What brought you to Washington University?
I came to Washington University for my surgical residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Which aspect of your practice is most interesting?
The most interesting part of my practice currently is working with other specialists, and also robotic surgery, in which the surgeon performs minimally invasive procedures using a camera and computer near the operating table to control surgical instruments.
What was your most recent mission trip for and what was that like?
I recently spent one week performing open surgeries in Honduras on a volunteer surgical mission trip. No laparoscopic surgery options were available at this small hospital in Honduras, and resources were very limited, so patients came from across the country for surgical services. I was the only general surgeon. It was a most rewarding and satisfying experience.
Where are you from?
I am from Gettysburg, a small historic town in south central Pennsylvania.
Which particular award or achievement that you have received is most gratifying?
The two most gratifying awards in my career have been a National Institutes of Health-funded grant award and a teaching award. The NIH award funded three years of my immunology research and was difficult to obtain, while the Bricker teaching award as a resident was voted on by my resident peers.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
The best advice came from my father: “Make every stumbling block a stepping stone.”
If you weren’t a doctor, what would you like to be doing?
If I didn’t have a career in medicine, my dream job was to be a photographer for National Geographic.