LUCOM professor inaugurated President of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons
- LUCOM Assistant Dean Ray Morrison strives for excellence and generosity whether as a Dallas surgeon, country doctor or Liberty professor.
- Morrison expresses his concerns about the medical insurance industry, which he fears is leading to doctors being viewed as indentured servants.
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine Assistant Dean of Clinical Education Ray L. Morrison was inaugurated as president of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons Oct. 13, where he has served as president-elect since last year.
Morrison sits in his office on Liberty Mountain, tapping his North Texas University class ring and commenting about his recent cameo in Liberty’s TV commercial.
“It’s just fun,” Morrison said.
At one point, the Clinical Education professor and Texas native wanted only to be a family doctor in the country. Now, Assistant Dean Ray L. Morrison stands as the LUCOM assistant dean, the speaker of the house for the American Osteopathic Association, and now, the president of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.
“I’ve been put in the right place at the right time,” Morrison said. “I think the Lord directed me to do that, where I get to be involved and put my two cents in.”
In his adolescence, Morrison wanted to be a dentist. His college roommate was studying dentistry, so he decided to jump into that field.
“I did not have the discipline to go to college as a young 18 year old,” Morrison said.
In the 1970s, Morrison instead enlisted as a combat medic because the military service would help him go to dental school.
Next, he went through one of the first paramedic trainings, before training in the emergency room at Fort Hood of Killeen, Texas. There, Morrison fell in love with the trauma unit, especially the varying subjects and quick decision making.
Morrison recalls the 1985 Delta 191 flight, which crashed in Dallas, Texas and killed 136 people due to wind shear. Morrison lived across the street from the hospital, and, when he heard what had happened, he came into the ER and cared for the first six patients off the plane, who were also in the worst conditions from the wreck.
After his experience in the ER, Morrison became a rural family doctor and a certified surgeon. He wanted to take care of people from “womb to tomb.”
He came head to head with the insurance companies when they told him he had to choose between his dreams of being a small town, country doctor or a surgeon.
Morrison chose to be a surgeon and moved to Crockett, Texas.
“I knew just about 100 percent of the people in the town,” Morrison said. “There weren’t many people I didn’t know.”
There, Morrison stitched up all kinds of wounds from tractor accidents to gun shot wounds to car wreck damage. He would often see his beloved patients out in Crockett, and he loved the public interactions.
“That was the joy of being a small town physician,” Morrison said. “I couldn’t go anywhere without someone coming up to me and either introducing themselves or reminding me of what I had done.”
Morrison said he appreciated the public display of patient affection.
“Some doctors hide from their patients, but I love patient interactions,” Morrison said. “I’ve always enjoyed that. I’d see them at church. I taught Sunday school to them. I enjoyed that, it was just part of my life. I didn’t see it as a part that was to be hidden.”
In Crockett, Morrison also learned to practice altruism.
“I’ve taken care of folks who have had nothing, and I’ve taken care of people who paid me a dollar a month, and at the end of the year, I’ll send them a Christmas card and tell them, ‘Merry Christmas, your bill’s off,’” Morrison said.
The generous physician now sees his conflict with the insurance industry many years ago in a new light.
“The toughest thing about all of this is it seems to be all money driven,” Morrison said.
Morrison worries that, since healthcare is becoming a right, physicians are becoming indentured servants. Doctors are providers of services, and while that privilege has always been a liberal provision, it is a provision nonetheless.
“I would have liked to have done better than I did financially, but it’s okay because the Lord has taken care of me,” Morrison said.
When Morrison can bless a family with a low cost surgery, he said it makes him feel good, regardless of his profit or loss. Morrison said that he is not a businessman; he is a doctor.
Morrison’s success does not end merely with his professional resumé or his altruism; Morrison has been happily married to Pamela Morrison for 36 years, and they have three children.
“It can happen, you can do that,” Morrison said. “You can have a real life, as hard as I work and do other crazy things. You have to have a good partner. My wife has been the biggest part of helping me do all that. She’s just supported me the whole way… she had absolutely the right to do whatever she wanted to do, but she chose to have a family with me and go in this direction.”
In 2012, when Morrison was looking toward his future, he spoke with Ronny Martin, the previous LUCOM dean. Morrison was going to come on as chief of surgery.
“Liberty has really come on the forefront in many different ways,” Morrison said. “I used to say Liberty is the biggest school you’ve never heard of.”
Morrison is committed to excellence, whether in rural Texas or Lynchburg. He brings a relaxed Texan tone to the table and years of unequivocal experience. His altruism and Christian convictions make him a holistic physician, one that is not afraid to help stitch up a patient physically or spiritually.
“You can pick anywhere in the world to have your surgery, but you can’t pick anywhere to have your car wreck,” Morrison said, quoting one of his partners.
These words have inspired Morrison to be the best caregiver he can be and to make any hospital he walks into the best he can.