Top Docs - Dr. TrentRichmond Magazine recently published its annual list of top physicians and four of the 'Top Docs 2013' practice right here in Tappahannock.

You don't have to open the magazine, however, to know the identity of one of those four. David F. Trent, MD, PhD, of Virginia Cancer Institute is pictured on the April cover in a white physician's jacket standing with his elbows bent and hands at his waist. He downplays the selection as "nice, but not important."

Dr. Trent joins John Fitzgerald, MD, FACC (Cardiovascular Disease); John Barsanti, MD, and Stephen Long, MD (Interventional Pain Medicine) as top physicians in Richmond, who also see patients in Tappahannock or Riverside Tappahannock Hospital (RTH).

Virginia Cancer Institute (VCI) has maintained an office and clinic in the Tappahannock area the past 20 years, Dr. Trent says. He and another oncologist with VCI, Joseph Evers, MD average two to four trips to Tappahannock each month.

"I get a sense that the Tappahannock patients are truly grateful we're here, especially those from the far reaches of the Northern Neck who still must drive 50 minutes," Dr. Trent says. The drive would take much longer, he says, if the patients had to go to Richmond.


Dr. Fitzgerald served as president of the Virginia Cardiovascular Specialists (VCS) for 17 years. The group opened its Tappahannock office about 12 years ago. Dr. Fitzgerald is there on Mondays and his partners, Drs. Robert Bennett , MD, MESE, FACC and Brian Holdaway, MD staff the clinic Tuesday through Friday. VCS provides all non-invasive general cardiology services to RTH.

"Our Tappahannock office is small and intimate, conducive to building a special relationship with the patients," Dr. Fitzgerald says, adding many of the clinic staff live in the community.  "We also think it is important to support our referring providers. Because of the rural landscape across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, many patients rely on their primary care doctor for everything… and when we get a call from them requesting a patient be seen urgently we do our best to see them that week," Dr. Fitzgerald says.

Dr. Barsanti

Dr. Barsanti talked about the nomination from his cell phone driving from Tappahannock to Richmond recently. "For patients looking for the best physicians in a certain field I imagine it does hold some sway," he says.

Drs. Barsanti and Long co-directed the Chronic Pain Center at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) Hospitals in Richmond prior to going into practice together in 1998 with the opening of Commonwealth Pain Specialists in Richmond.  They joined the Riverside Tappahannock Pain Clinic in late 2011.  The office is conveniently located in the Riverside Medical Group office at Mt. Clement, giving them close proximity to RTH, where they perform pain procedures.

"We had some patients referred to us who were from the Tappahannock area, and one mentioned that Dr. Meenakshi Bindal was leaving," Dr. Barsanti recalled.  After meeting with the RTH administrator, Liz Martin, they determined that joining Riverside Medical Group to serve patients in Tappahannock was something both doctors were happy to support. Dr. Barsanti sees Tappahannock patients Mondays and Dr. Long Tuesdays.Dr. LongPatients in the Tappahannock area are pleased with the results. In a recent patient satisfaction survey, patients rated the treatment they received at the Riverside Tappahannock Pain Center 97 percent. For Dr. ong, the feeling is mutual. "I really enjoy caring for this group of patients. You have lifelong residents as well as a stimulating group of retirees who've moved from other areas. There's also a good group of committed staff at the hospital."

Richmond Magazine listed a total of 414 physicians that covered 82 categories in its "Top Docs 2013" edition.

Published: May 3, 2013