Dr. Robert Storey has been in Family Practice for 25 years, and his studies and travels have taken him to several foreign countries as a “medical missions doc.” Like so many other medical people in our area, if you want to make their eyes twinkle, get them to talk about their adventures abroad serving people and our Savior. His office is filled with mementos, pictures and reminders of his joy in practicing medicine even in rough situations.
Dr. Storey is married to Fran and they have 5 kids, and, as he says, “two perfect grandchildren.” Fran is his office manager, and the practice he shares with Dr. Ernest Hendrix is located at 108 Sanders Street in Athens, just east of Athens Limestone Hospital. Fran says of their move to Athens, “He is fulfilling his life- long dream.”
Dr. Storey came to this practice in November, but is no stranger to North Alabama. He spent 15 years working in Huntsville, and, as a GP, got to do everything from deliver babies to function as an ER doc. He said with a smile, “I was the last GP they let work in the ER. I loved it, too.” He estimates that he has delivered around 2,000 babies, and especially enjoyed taking care of newborns. He practiced for several years in Talladega, “loves the feel of a small town” and Athens was a perfect fit.
One of the things that struck me about Dr. Storey was how much he enjoys what he does. “Every day is different. One day it seems like all we are dealing with is diabetes, and another day it will be cardio-vascular,” he said. The change up is one of the many benefits of being a General Practitioner because it keeps things fresh. More than once he said with conviction, “I love what I do. I’d do it for free if I could.” He also added, “Helping people get well and relieving suffering, that is enjoyable.”
Dr. Storey actually got his start in the study of medicine while in Grenada, and arrived there not long after the invasion was over. “There were bullet holes everywhere, and you could see places in the ceiling where ordnance had come through,” he said. He did two years of med school in Grenada, and finished up at the University of Alabama Medical School in Birmingham. “The people who taught us in Grenada were the same people who wrote the textbooks we used at UAB,” he said. The Storeys also have a son who is currently in the same med school in Grenada that his father attended, and, like his dad, absolutely loves what he does.
Dr. Storey made several medical mission trips to Mali, and we talked awhile about how much we love Africa and how much we would love to go back. Unfortunately, because of the Ebola crisis, he hasn’t been able to go to Mali for several years because he would have to come back and be quarantined for 21 days. However, he has been able to go to Costa Rica and said, jokingly, “I think THAT is the true location of the Garden of Eden!” He has also been to Guatemala.
One of the advantages of having practiced tropical medicine is that it forces you to think “outside the box.” Many doctors have very little experience with parasites, for example, but they are a problem far more often than one might think, and he is on the alert for the damage they can do. His international experience is invaluable, and coupled with the joy of doing that to which he has been called, his relaxed enthusiasm is contagious.
I asked Dr. Storey why, when I have choices, should I choose him for my primary care physician. He said, “Now that is an interesting question. I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that before.” He thought for awhile, and said the following:
• “I am a safe and competent physician, and I listen to my patients”
• “I take a team approach to your care. I listen to you, and we make decisions together.”
• “I am easy to talk to, and am approachable. I am not just going to throw medical terminology at you. I will explain things and make sure you completely understand what I am talking about.”
• “I am not going to make you wait for 2 weeks to see me. I actually don’t mind walk-ins. If you are sick that day, you get seen that day.”
A General Practitioner is the only medical doctor in Alabama that must take a comprehensive re-certification exam every seven years, and Dr. Storey just completed his. “I am ready to keep doing what I love,” he said. He chuckled as he described his spectrum of care as “womb to tomb.” If that is the style of medical practice that makes you the most comfortable and confident, then Dr. Robert Storey is your man. You can call his office at 256-230-1116 for an appointment.
Dr G. Robert Storey, MD
108 Sanders Street, Athens, AL 35611
Hours: Mon-Fri 8-5
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner