Cross_Wirt_MD_optDr. Wirt Cross, Jr. wasn't always convinced he wanted to be a surgeon. That was until after medical school while serving as a medical officer in the Middle East with the U.S. Navy. He saw, and felt, the direct impact surgery can make.

"When I went to Iraq, there were many times when my teammates were injured and needed surgical care," Cross said. "I would get them patched up in the field and take them to … the surgeon (who) would let me assist in the operations. The ability to see a patient, diagnose the problem and then decide how to go about fixing it is amazing."

Today, Riverside Health System is pleased to announce that Wirt is bringing that passion and experience to Riverside Tappahannock Hospital as its newest general surgeon. General surgeons have training and experience in the surgical treatment of almost all parts of the body. Riverside general surgeons are experts in the diagnosis of problems as well as the preoperative, operative and postoperative management of patients' conditions. 

Born and raised on a farm in Hanover County, Cross studied biology at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and attended medical school at the Medical College of Virginia (now Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine).

He comes to Riverside from Maryland, where he has been serving as a Surgical Resident at Saint Agnes Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland.

Prior to his residency, Cross was a Surgical Intern at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center and Battalion Surgeon for a U.S. Navy mobile construction group, also known as SeaBees.

Cross also has experience working in an urgent care center in California, as a medical officer at Fort Meade, Md. and as a staff physician for the National Security Agency.

"I believe that surgery is a calling," Cross said, literally and figuratively. "No matter what time of the day or night, if a patient needs me, I have to be ready."

In Tappahannock, Cross aims to help treat and educate his patients.

"An educated patient is a satisfied patient and with today's easy access to often inaccurate information, it is my job to help my patients understand their ailments and the different treatment options available to them," he said.

Practicing medicine in a small community, Cross said, "has always been my dream" and he's thrilled to have moved his wife and three children to the Northern Neck.

When he's not in the operating room, Cross enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, riding his motorcycle, being outside and reading biographies or fantasy novels.

"I am very excited to be joining this community and getting to know the area better," Cross said. "I want to form a relationship with my patients so that if their family members ever need care the first person they'll think of is me."

Cross is now seeing patients at Riverside Surgical Specialists in Tappahannock, located in the Riverside Medical Arts Building A at 659 Hospital Road. For more information or to make an appointment call 804.443.6232.

Published: August 18, 2014