Meet Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Chris C. Cook, M.D. Dr. Cook discusses his interesting path to medicine, his areas of focus and interest in robotics. what brought him to Sentara, and his approach to the care of his patients.
My name is Chris Cook. I'm a heart surgeon at Sentara Heart Hospital. I also do cases at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. I have 14 years experience and over that time I've developed a breadth of cases with regards to coronary revascularization, valvular heart disease and aortic procedures. So I have an interest in all manner of coronary and valvular heart disease as well as the aorta. But with significant changes in medicine, particularly technology, things are moving more and more towards minimally invasive procedures. While many procedures can be done now with the catheter, there's still operations that are best done with open surgery. Um Having said that some of those open surgery operations can be done with smaller incisions nowadays through many eastern economies or even small thoracotomy incisions on the side that don't require a patient to have a full chest open surgery. So I have a particular clinical interest in developing that and hope to bring that to Sentara. Yeah. So I was initially going to be an engineer. My father and brother had developed uh a small excavating company that was growing and my plan was to go back and work with them in southern west Virginia helping build the roads, roads and bridges. Um Over time though during my studies I realized I didn't have as much of a passion for engineering as I did for being around people and that sort of led me to thinking more towards medicine. Um I called my father and said I don't think I want to be an engineer anymore expecting that he was gonna be very disappointed but he was in fact very supportive. And because of that I decided to switch to biology and and then subsequently into into medicine. Um I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do at the time and at the time I couldn't imagine how I was going to afford uh medicine. So I took a Navy scholarship. I served four years as a general surgeon at all. Four years at Naval Hospital Guam uh While doing that I developed an interest in cardio thoracic surgery. And I then did my C. T. Residency at the University of Pittsburgh where I stayed on staff for eight years. And then I was recruited to West Virginia University, my home state of West Virginia to run the C. T. Residency program where I was the program director and I spent five years on staff there. So I was visiting the area and one of my former partners was telling me that he had joined the practice at Sentara. Uh I was very interested in what he was having to say. And I visited and visited the hospital. I was amazed at the things that were going on at Sentara and that the practice that they developed here and it just so happened. An opportunity for a job came open. They had many qualified applicants as you might imagine who would want to work at Sentara but I was fortunate enough to apply and to get the job. Uh And I've been excited about being a part of this practice ever since. Every patient as if I'm caring for my family member. Um I think that patients should absolutely get the best uh in medicine that we have to offer all the time. And as such, I like to collaborate with my partners and also my cardiology colleagues to make sure that we uh taylor every treatment plan uh to that individual and do what's best suited for that individual patient.