Franklin joins medical staff at hospital
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 9:16am
Dr. Sam Franklin said he always had a fascination with the human body and a desire to help people, but it was only after shadowing Dr. Jim Polhill in his Louisville practice and seeing him interact with his life-long patients that Franklin decided that not only did he want to focus on family medicine, but he wanted to do it close to home.
“Ever since medical school my plan has been to come back here to work,” Franklin said while sitting in Jefferson Hospital last week.
He completed his residency in Greenville, S.C., this summer and over the last couple of weeks he has walked the halls, met the staff and begun familiarizing himself with facilities in Louisville.
Lou Semrad, Jefferson Hospital CEO said Friday that he was excited to have Franklin join the staff.
“He’s in orientation today, so all day he’s spending time with each department manager and will finish up with Jennifer Tanner in the emergency room and he will be wearing his white coat over in the clinic Tuesday morning,” Semrad said. “It’s difficult to recruit providers to rural communities. To have a young physician come in is great. To have one who is local is fantastic. We have already had people calling weeks in advance to set up appointments with him so we know he is going to be a tremendous asset to the local community.”
Franklin grew up in Waynesboro the youngest of three children and attended Burke County High School where he played tennis and basketball and ran cross country.
“Anatomy was one of my favorite classes and I just became fascinated with the human body,” he said. “And I wanted to help people. My grandmother and my mother are probably the sweetest two people I can think of on this earth and maybe I inherited a little bit of that from them.”
He said he always respected and admired his pediatrician, Dr. Shelley Griffin of Waynesboro.
“When you go to a doctor you’re at your most vulnerable and there they are, able to help you out, and I always appreciated that,” Franklin said.
He credits his aunt, Betty Franklin, a nurse in Atlanta, for help getting into the hospital for some of his first shadowing.
“One of the most influential people I worked with is Dr. Polhill,” Franklin said. “After undergrad I needed some more experience and so I reached out to him and he was more than willing to help out. While I was shadowing him, it was impressive to see his relationship with his patients, how much he knew about their lives and their families.
“Also a lot of the procedures he was able to do in the office impressed me. I guess today you think about your primary doctor and you think about a lot of small procedures that are sent to specialists. It was impressive to see what all he was able to do here.”
Dr. Polhill wrote him a letter of recommendation and helped him get into Mercer Medical School. Around that time the CEO at the time also spoke to Franklin about possibly returning to practice in Jefferson County.
“It’s a decision every med student has to make: Do you want to go into medicine or do I want to go into some sort of surgical field. I liked what Dr. Pholhill did and I thought this felt like a good fit for me,” Franklin said. “I’m really comfortable with the decision I made and I feel like it was best for me. Of course there are perks to living in the city, but there are drawbacks as well. I grew up in Waynesboro and I don’t like traffic or long lines. I like to visit cities but I feel like my heart is in a small town.”
Franklin’s wife, Mary Hulet (formerly Kitterman), has started working at Louisville Academy and the couple are settling in Louisville.
Franklin said he has followed the hospital in the local news the last few years, is aware of its recent split from its former management company.
“I know it’s had its struggles but with new CEO Lou Semrad, it seems to be going in the right direction. A hospital or a large clinic is vital to a community,” Franklin said. “I know people don’t like driving all the way to Augusta for their basic healthcare needs. Thinking back to Dr. Polhill’s practice, he was able to serve so many needs for people right here without them having to leave this community.”
Semrad said that Franklin’s familiarity and ties to the community are a major asset.
“You don’t have to build a reputation or build those relationships,” Semrad said. “He comes to us with a measure of credibility. Of course his wife is also a local and her family is well known here too. She comes with a familiarity as well. Long term, when you are successful about bringing in young physicians and you want them to stay having both the husband and wife with roots in the community, and both being invested in the local community, then you have people who may look to retire here in another 50 years.”