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Urologist leaving legacy

Dr. Lee Moore’s family holds a lot of history with healthcare in the Upper Cumberland.

After all, he is a third generation physician.

“I made the decision to be a doctor when I was a sophomore in high school,” he said. “It’s been a good run. I’ve made so many good friends over the years.”

Lee will be retiring at the end of February.

His grandfather, Dr. J.T. “Tom” Moore, Sr., helped numerous patients in his many years as a general practitioner and teamed up with Dr. William A. Howard to take healthcare to the next level shortly after World War 1.

His father, Dr. J.T. “Jack” Moore, Jr., returned home in 1951 to practice with his father before building his own clinic.

He recalls going on house visits with his dad.

“He did a little bit of everything,” he said. “Hip pins, surgery, delivering babies.”

Lee joined Upper Cumberland Urology Associates in 1989 following medical school and post graduate training. Dr. Charles (Chuck) Womack and Dr. Stephen Goryl were the other two urologists at the practice at the time.

The building at 320 N. Oak Ave. has been the home of urology since Womack established the practice in 1975. It is also a bird’s eye view of the growth and expansion the hospital has experienced.

“The building was 4,500 square feet,” Lee said. “We’ve added on and it’s now about 7,500 square feet.”

When he came in, there were 8-10 employees. Now, the practice is double that amount.

“Over the years, I’ve seen addition to the Professional Office Building, the emergency department and the north patient tower,” he said. “I’ve seen the addition of multiple specialties, from cardiology to neurosurgery and so many new staff members come in.”

Over his nearly 34 years in practice, he has completed approximately 15,000 procedures and surgeries.

“I have several memorable patients,” he said. “One in particular involved removing a large kidney tumor that was growing into the chest. We had to get the thoracic surgeons involved.”

The biggest changes he has seen in urology deals with technology.

“The robotic surgery capabilities have taken the field to new levels,” he said. “The transition to electronic medical records (EMR) was also a big change.”

The hospital acquired the practice in 2000.

“We’ve always had a good relationship with the hospital,” he said. “I’m proud of this legacy.”

After nearly 34 years of helping patients with a variety of issues, he wants to leave the practice in better shape than what it was when he came in.

“I’ll be 66 in a few days,” he said. “My Parkinson’s Disease has really started to affect my abilities, so it’s time to live life.”

Even though Lee practiced solo for a while, there is plenty of help now. Drs. Rick Smith, Aaron Moore, and Robert Parham have all joined the practice, with another physician coming this summer and another next year.

He also earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Tennessee.

“That gave me insight into the business part of healthcare,” he said.

He also served as a board member, which was one of the toughest things he had to do in his career.

“You have to make decisions that affect the medical staff and the future of the hospital,” he said. “Your obligation is to the city of Cookeville and the hospital. It’s a position where you can’t please everybody.”

“Dr. Lee Moore is certainly leaving big shoes to fill,” said Paul Korth, Cookeville Regional CEO. “He has seen a big part in the growth of the hospital not only for his patient care but also serving on the board of trustees and many other hospital committees. All of us in administration thank him for his years of service and wish him well in retirement.”

Lee is planning to play golf and spend time with his family, which includes his wife Cheryl, and two daughters, Avery and Caroline.

“It’s been a fun ride,” he said. “I’ll miss my staff the most.”