Practice News

Gone Fishing: Celebrating the Career of Dr. Steven M. James

It’s not going to be the same around Goodman Campbell. Dr. Steven M. James, one of our spine and peripheral nerve specialists, is leaving us for a much-deserved retirement after 30 years with our practice.

Dr. James joined Goodman Campbell in 1991 and has been chairman of neurosurgery at St. Francis Hospital for the past 27 years. After receiving his MD from the Indiana University School of Medicine, he undertook a residency in neurological surgery at The Ohio State University and a peripheral nerve disorders fellowship with Dr. David Kline in New Orleans.

He grew up in Brazil, Indiana, about 65 miles west of Indianapolis. “I was always interested in science. My father was a high school chemistry teacher. And ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a surgeon,” he said.

Dr. James’s practice has been focused on spine and peripheral nerve tumors, and he’s seen many changes over the course of his career in the way medicine is practiced. “We’ve had changes with minimally invasive surgery, with the technology of stereotactic surgery. We’ve changed some of our thought processes about how to treat intracranial trauma and hemorrhage.”

“Medicine is one of those fields that’s always changing. We’re always improving. The surgeons who came out the generation before me went through the same evolution. We took it another step forward, and I’m sure the next generation will take it another step forward from here,” he said.

As for career highlights, Dr. James said he looks to the patients he’s helped over the years. He’s been on the receiving end of their gratitude on numerous occasions—in numerous places.

“I have a buddy who’s a semi-retired veterinarian. We were walking through Meijer one day, and we met a man who said, ‘Oh, Dr. James, you operated on my mother, and she’s doing so much better.’ A week or two later, we were at a restaurant, and someone came up and said, ‘Dr. James, you operated on my wife, thank you so much.’

“A few weeks later, we were down in Gatlinburg getting ready to go hiking. As we were walking out of the hotel, a van pulls up and stops, and a guy gets out and says, ‘Dr. James, you operated on my neck and I’m doing so much better.’

Now that he’s retired, Dr. James is ready for something new. “I’m going to play,” he said. “I was a weekend warrior, and now I want to be a full-time warrior and play all the time. I have a farm down in Brown County, and I want to build a home. I have an off-road mountain bike, and I want to build some trails for it. My wife and I want to travel. I had two fishing trips cancelled this year—one for COVID and one for a hurricane. So I want to fish more.”

Dr. James says he’s not going to miss the surgery. But he is going to miss his patients, his colleagues, and everyone who helped him facilitate great patient care. He has enjoyed working with this group and their commitment to quality of care. “I want to thank our initial Indianapolis Neurosurgical Group- now known as Goodman Campbell- for the opportunity to practice medicine and care for patients in the best of all scenarios and situations. I just can’t be more gratified for that.”

“It’s been a great career—a great ride in neurosurgery—and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”

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