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University Surgical Associates is excited to announce that Craig A. Murray, M.D., FACS, general surgeon, will begin seeing patients at the USA Hixson office, located in the Professional Office Building on the campus of CHI Memorial Hixson beginning in January 2020. 

Dr. Murray specializes in advanced minimally invasive surgery, robotic hernia repair, gallbladder disease, colon resection, appendicitis, abdominal wall defect, breast surgery, and anti-reflux procedures. Before joining USA in 2018, Dr. Murray was in private practice in Albany, Georgia, where he performed general surgery for 15 years. 

Expanding Dr. Murray’s care to the Hixson location is part of USA’s strategic plan to offer services to a wider number of people who live and work in Chattanooga and its surrounding communities. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue USA’s general surgery services for the Hixson and Soddy Daisy areas. The goal is to marry high quality care and convenience for our patients, and we believe that can lead to even better outcomes and higher levels of patient satisfaction,” says Dr. Murray. “When it comes to advanced surgical care, you want excellence and experience – but it’s also a great benefit when you can access those services close to home.” 

About Dr. Murray 

Dr. Murray earned his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and completed a general surgery residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Murray began his practice and became affiliated with the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia, where he served as Vice President of Medical Staff and Clinical Associate Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. 

He is a member of the American College of Surgeons and has medical licenses in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Dr. Murray comes to University Surgical Associates with nearly 16 years of general surgery experience where he specializes in advanced minimally invasive surgery, including robotic-assisted procedures. 

In addition to seeing patients and performing minor surgery at USA’s Surgical Specialties Building in downtown Chattanooga and seeing patients at USA Hixson, Dr. Murray performs planned and emergency surgery at Erlanger, CHI Memorial, CHI Memorial Hixson and Parkridge. 

 “The focus of my surgical practice has always been personalized care and developing a strong relationship with my patients," he says. "It’s my priority to put their needs first."

Dr. Murray sees patients at the USA Hixson office on Tuesday (8:30 – 11 am); at the USA North Georgia office on Tuesday (1 – 3 pm) and Wednesday (9:30 – 11:30 am) and USA’s Gunbarrel office on Wednesday (1:30 – 3 pm). To schedule an appointment, call 423.267.0466. 

Children aren’t small adults, and they often can’t share what’s bothering them. This might be especially true for those with urologic issues that may be embarrassing to discuss. The fellowship trained pediatric surgeons at University Surgical Associates recognize that children have special needs – and they need highly specialized treatment. In fact, understanding the unique needs of children who require surgical care is what defines USA pediatric surgeons.

“Pediatric surgeons provide care for children of all ages – for newborns, infants, children and through the adolescent years. After completing training and achieving board certification in general surgery for adults, we complete two additional years of training focused specifically on children’s surgery,” says Curt Koontz, MD, board certified general and pediatric surgeon at USA who specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques in infants and children. “We treat conditions from common to rare with one goal in mind – giving children and their families the best opportunity for healing and wellness.” 

USA Pediatric Surgeons Offer Advanced Urology Care 
USA pediatric surgeons are fellowship trained to provide leading-edge and compassionate care to children in the Chattanooga region. Joseph “Pete” Kelley, MD, Lisa Smith, MD, Curt Koontz, MD, and Dave Bhattacharya, MD, are a formidable team with extensive experience in treating a range of urologic conditions – including hernias, hydroceles, undescended testicles, circumcisions, varicoceles as well as solid tumors and malignancies of the kidneys, adrenal glands, and testicles.

“In most elective urologic procedures like circumcision, undescended testicles, a hernia or hydrocele, the surgical approach is well defined and there aren’t many surprises,” says Dr. Koontz. “It’s particularly important when dealing with kidney tumors and possible metastatic disease to rely on the extensive training that pediatric surgeons receive in pediatric surgical oncology. We’re equipped and trained to provide the most thorough and effective surgical care.”  

Treating Your Child, Caring for Your Family 
When it comes your child’s health, confidence in your pediatric surgeon is everything. That’s why USA pediatric surgeons develop strong relationships and focus on open and consistent communication with families and patients – from the first appointment, to the operation, and into full recovery.  “This is one area where we have a great advantage – there is always a USA pediatric surgeon on call 24/7. We’re here any time our patients need us,” says Dr. Koontz. “What’s more, we have the support systems in place, including a caring and dedicated staff, that ensures you and your child receive the timely and effective care you need. One of our pediatric surgeons should be able to see a patient within two weeks.” 

University Surgical Associates' pediatric surgeons in Chattanooga, TN manage general surgery issues in children, from appendicitis to gallbladder disease, as well as the subspecialty cases such as congenital deformities, newborn surgery, urologic surgery, ovarian pathology, chest wall reconstruction, childhood cancers and minimally invasive and robotic surgery. No matter your child’s health concern, you can trust the care provided by USA pediatric surgeons.


To schedule an appointment, call 423.267.0466. 

Visiting the Hospital?

December 12th, 2019

6 Tips to Keep Yourself Healthy 

Whether you’re stopping in for a quick visit with a friend who’s had surgery or you’re on a lengthy stay because of a loved one’s extended illness, being in a hospital means you’re likely to come in contact with germs. When you’re surrounded by people who are sick, protecting your health and staying well should be top of mind. It’s important for friends and caregivers to take special precautions so you’re better prepared to help the person in the hospital recover. Follow these tips to take care of yourself physically and make your health and wellness a priority! 

1. Wash your hands. 

The simplest tips are often the most important – and overlooked! Proper hand washing is the most effective way to remove germs and other harmful bacteria from our hands. No matter how clean a hospital may be, germs are likely on every surface and in the air. Hand washing has been shown to stop antibiotic-resistant bacteria from spreading and reduce the infections inside the hospital! 

To prevent the spread of disease and keep yourself from getting sick, wash your hands when you arrive and when you leave a person’s room. If you don’t have access to soap and running water, hospital rooms are equipped with dispensers of anti-bacterial gel or foam that are also effective in killing germs on contact.

The proper technique? Use mild anti-bacterial soap in lukewarm water for at least 20 seconds. Click here for detailed instructions on how to do it like a pro! 

2. Avoid waiting areas. 

Sometimes you have no choice, but if possible, steer clear of the crowds and away from common waiting areas. If you do have to wait, choose a quiet spot where fewer people are sitting and away from anyone who is coughing, sneezing or appears to be sick. Bring along a package of disposable anti-bacterial wipes to clean the chair or table you’re using. This brings us to the next tip!  


3. Don’t touch your face. 

If you stop to think about it, how many times a day do you absentmindedly touch your face or rest your chin on your hands? It’s probably a lot. Then think about all things you’ve touched – your car, your phone, your keyboard, the doorknob, the toilet handle. It’s gross to consider, but viruses, germs and bacteria enter our body most commonly through our mouth, nose and eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes, use a tissue when you cough, and wash your hands after you blow your nose. 

Bonus TIP
Did you know that most smart phones are a hotbed of bacteria? One study showed the 16 percent of smart phones contained E. coli, a type of fecal matter. Take a minute to clean your electronic devices with a Lysol wipe and protect your health! 

4. Change your clothes. 

Clothes and shoes can carry the hospital’s bacteria home with you. It’s a good idea to remove and wash your clothes to help stop the spread of germs. Any extra step to reduce your odds of spreading infection to yourself or someone at home is worth the effort!


5. Bring snacks from home. 

Eating from a vending machine is never the healthiest option. But if your loved one is sick and you don’t want to stray too far from the room, a well-packed snack bag is your best friend. An apple or banana paired with a small handful of nuts is a satisfying option that will keep your energy up. Air popped popcorn, low sugar granola bars and dried fruit are also great choices to fill you up without making a mess and don’t require refrigeration.


6. Get the rest you need. 

It can be challenging – and physically and emotional draining – to care for someone in the hospital. That’s why it’s so important to take breaks, get fresh air and take time for sleep. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll be less effective in caring for the ones you love. One last thing to remember – if you’re not feeling well, the hospital is no place for you! Stay home until you’re fever free and feeling better.  


What are your tips for staying healthy in the hospital? We’d love to hear! For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our surgical specialists, call 423.267.0466 today.