As an orthopedic surgeon with more than 35 years experience, Dr. Carr is known widely by his patients as a physician and surgeon who helps them regain their mobility without pain.
Dr. Carr says he watched in awe of his dad, a longtime Lubbock pediatrician, but he knew he had to choose a career in medicine for his own reasons. “I soon found that as I took the courses and met the academic requirements to go to medical school that it was a choice that I wanted, not just to follow Dad. I have held to that standard the whole way through my life, to make sure it was a choice that I felt honest about for those things that I do choose in my life.”
While still a student at Monterey High School, Dr. Carr joined the National Ski Patrol at Sierra Blanca Ski Area (now Ski Apache) in Ruidoso, New Mexico. As part of his duties, he would help injured skiers off the mountain. “I soon discovered that I really was attracted to be in that aspect of medicine by caring for people in an orthopedic way,” says Dr. Carr. He continued this volunteer service for 10 years throughout high school, college, and even medical school.
After earning his undergraduate degree at Texas Tech, Dr. Carr stayed in Lubbock to attend the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, which was still experiencing growing pains. “I was in the fourth graduating class, but the second one to go all the way through. We were in a renovated dorm on the Tech campus for our main classes. Our anatomy lab, where we did our cadaver studies, was what used to be the kitchen for the dorm. Our main classroom was what used to be dining hall and the library area.”
Dr. Carr says he was on a U.S. Army scholarship through medical school, and while he was earning his medical degree, he spent time all over the country, learning at different medical facilities. Dr. Carr says one particular patient he treated in El Paso helped him know orthopedics was the right decision. “A fellow came in after a motorcycle accident. He’d shattered his whole body. The orthopedics team and I worked all night putting him back together. When I came home afterward, I wasn’t tired, but excited.”
“What I discovered in orthopedic surgery is there are many things that were challenging to me, academically interesting, but not only was orthopedics very worthwhile, but I had fun doing it. I enjoy that relationship with the patients of making a difference in the quality of their lives. That is when I decided to go into orthopedics.”
Dr. Carr went on to complete his Orthopedic Surgery residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center/University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. Afterward, he headed to Europe where he served as Chief Orthopedic/Podiatry consultant at the Army Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany from 1982 to 1985.
After fulfilling his military service, Dr. Carr returned to Lubbock, where he started his own private practice. He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and specializes in Adult Reconstructive Surgery (hip, knee ,and ankle), Shoulder Surgery, and Adult Spinal Care/Surgery. Patients describe Dr. Carr as being trustworthy and compliment his willingness to answer questions and hear concerns to help them feel at ease along their entire path of care. “When somebody comes to me as my patient, I feel they have entrusted themselves to my care and I honor that trust. I want them to feel I respect what they have to say. I let them tell me what their problem is and I just listen– whether it is going to take a minute or 10 minutes or 15 minutes, they tell me their story,” says Dr. Carr.
“I want to figure out how I can best help them, but I think respect is one of the things you will find in that effort. I try to make sure I see them in a timely fashion, as their time is as valuable as mine is. I try to involve the families in whatever decisions we can make, as I want them to know that I will always take their opinions into consideration and I always try to do what I think is best with their permission and their agreement.”
Dr. Carr stays ahead of industry trends and is known for being up-to-date on the latest innovations and new procedures. “Innovation and technological progress I think are very important, particularly in orthopedics. We are a technology-driven specialty. Total joint replacements, some of the new arthroscopic procedures, minimally-invasive surgeries — all those are very important in the progress of medicine. There is very little that I do now that I was doing the same way 30 years ago. Most things have changed for the better in a way that meets the individual needs of the patient instead of just a cookie cutter approach to problems.”
Dr. Carr focuses on orthopedic issues in adults, and he says some of his patients need a gentle reminder. “Sometimes a patient is concerned they’re going to hurt themselves more and that comes up whether you are 13 or you are 73. I realize my practice is primarily in adult reconstructive surgeries, so I am not dealing with a lot of teenage sport situations. In some aspects, I try to tell people that they are no longer 21, but together we can make them feel younger.”
When choosing an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Carr says you should choose one with experience. “Experience teaches you to be able to think on your feet. In orthopedics, just like with any surgery, there may be a problem that comes up in a knee replacement when I can’t stop, go look it up in a book, or go check something online. You have to decide right then what needs to be done. Experience teaches you how to deal with the unexpected problems that come up.”
A West Texas native, Dr. Carr and his wife have been married more than 40 years, and have five daughters and eleven grandchildren.