220: What Patients Teach Their Doctors with Dr. David Alfery

by Jen Barna MD | Burnout Prevention, Life Journey, Physician Wellness, Podcast, Wellness, Work Life Balance, Work Life Integration

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“What you’re doing every day with this patient in front of you, this vulnerable person that’s come to you, it’s a privilege. This is an honor that society has given us that allows us to take care of that person. ”

-David Alfery, MD


Today’s guest is Dr. David Alfery, Anesthesiologist and author. In this episode, Dr. Alfery discusses his journey as a physician and the inspiration behind his new book, Saving Grace: What Patients Teach Their Doctors About Life, Death, and the Balance in Between. He shares the lessons he’s learned from his patients over the past 36 years as an Anesthesiologist and advice on how to stay connected to your purpose as a physician. 





Dr. David Alfery attended Tulane University where he obtained a BA in English. After graduating from LSU Medical School in New Orleans, he spent a year as a surgical intern at the University of Kentucky in Lexington before doing his residency in anesthesia at the University of California in San Diego. He stayed on there for an additional year of fellowship training in cardiothoracic anesthesia. In 1980 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he spent a thirty-six-year career in private practice. Dr. Alfery has served as a Chief of Anesthesia, President of the Tennessee State Society of Anesthesiologists, and was a founding member of Anesthesia Medical Group, one of the largest anesthesia practices in the United States.  

For twenty years he served as an Oral Examiner for the American Board of Anesthesiology, ending his tenure as a Senior Examiner.  He holds an academic appointment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as Adjunct Associate Professor of Anesthesiology. 

Dr. Alfery has authored 10 chapters in medical textbooks and 41 peer reviewed articles in anesthesia medical journals.  He invented several anesthesia devices for which he has been awarded 17 US and International patents.  

His new book, Saving Grace: What Patients Teach Their Doctors About Life, Death, and the Balance in Between, was published in January of 2023.


Dr. David Alfery’s social media:



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