Anesthesiology - Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
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Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center



The Charleston VAMC Department of Anesthesiology provides comprehensive anesthesiology care for Veteran patients undergoing:

  • general surgery including robotically-assisted procedures
  • bariatric surgery
  • cardiac surgery
  • ears, nose and throat surgery
  • gynecologic surgery including robotically-assisted procedures
  • orthopedic surgery including total joint replacement procedures
  • vascular surgery
  • neurosurgery including intracranial and spine procedures
  • ophthalmologic surgery
  • plastic surgery
  • thoracic surgery
  • urologic surgery including robotically-assisted procedures
  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • endoscopic procedures
  • diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the cardiac, gastrointestinal, pulmonary and radiology suites

The Department of Anesthesiology also provides acute and chronic pain management services, diagnostic trans-esophageal echocardiography, respiratory therapy care as well as emergency airway management throughout the facility.


Our staff brings special expertise and interests to the clinical arenas of Veteran care. Fellowship trained cardiac anesthesiologists and pain physicians provide advanced cardiac and pain care. Other faculty members have advanced training and interests in ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia, acute pain management, orthopedic anesthesia, fiberoptic techniques for airway management, and trans-esophageal echocardiography.


  • Tamas Szabo, M.D., PhD. (Acting Chief)
  • Gearin Broderick, M.D.
  • Robert Christopher, M.D.
  • Donald Kilpatrick, M.D.
  • Angel Mahan, M.D.
  • Emily Nelson, M.D.
  • Kim Payne, M.D.

Nurse Anesthetists

  • Jonathan Trollinger, CRNA (Chief Nurse Anesthetist)
  • Scott Gray, CRNA
  • Cathy Holster, CRNA
  • Christine Kiefer, CRNA
  • Mike McKeever, CRNA
  • Martha Smith, CRNA
  • Cristy Thompson, CRNA
  • Emily Wright, CRNA

Interdisciplinary Pain Team

  • Robert Friedman, M.D., FACP
  • Dale Tabor, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Linda Jackson, APN
  • Layne Goble, Ph.D.
  • Anthony Abramcyzck, Pharm.D.

Operating Rooms

Renovation and expansion of the operating room theater began in 2010 and continues through 2017 with the addition of another state-of-the-art operating room for a total of six operating rooms (ORs). Renovation of the PACU and OR Holding Areas is currently underway as well.

New Operating Room


New Operating Room


Pain Clinic

The clinic provides interdisciplinary team care utilizing specialists in interventional care, pharmacy, and pain psychology. CAM therapies, including mindfulness, biofeedback and acupuncture, are also available to our Veteran population.

Dr. Robert Friedman leads the team, and provides special attention for those patients receiving or considered for chronic opioid therapy for chronic non-malignant pain. Dr. Layne Goble renders much needed psychological testing and therapy for these patients. Dr. Dale Tabor provides interventional blocks including major conduction, sympathetic, and neurolytic procedures. Linda Jackson, ANP, provides trigger point injections, pain pump refills and facilitates the pain care process.

Pre-Anesthesia Testing Clinic

This unit serves as the hub of perioperative patient preparation. Dr. Donald Kilpatrick is the Medical Director of the clinic. Along with other staff anesthesiologists, he provides consultative oversight of the advanced practice nurses and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA's) who perform most of the outpatient evaluations. This unit is primarily staffed by Zola Driggers, APN.

Intraoperative Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) Service

Led by Dr. Kim Payne and Dr. Tamas Szabo, this service provides echocardiography assistance to any surgical service but is most helpful in the care of our cardiac surgery patients. Basic TEE instruction is provided to the anesthesiology faculty, anesthesiology fellows and resident staff.

Respiratory Therapy Service

The respiratory therapists provide emergency airway management, ventilator care, chest physiotherapy and pulmonary function testing services for our Veteran patients. This unit is supervised by Lyndon Gallant, RRT.

Hospital Activities

Members of the faculty also are very active in hospital affairs and provide leadership in a variety of areas outside of the operating rooms.

  • Dr. Donald Kilpatrick chairs the CPR Committee.
  • Dr. Gearin Broderick serves on the Invasive Procedures Committee and the Peer Review Committee.
  • Dr. Kim Payne serves on the Transfusion Committee.

Training Program

Anesthesiology residents and student nurse anesthetists from the Medical University of South Carolina are an integral component of the department. Training in cardio-thoracic anesthesia, ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia as well as general anesthesia is offered.

Research Program

“The effect of neuromuscular blockade on mask ventilation” was recently published in the international journal Anaesthesia and was subsequently selected as “Editor's Choice” by the editorial board. Several more research projects are at various stages of publication.

Related Links

*Link will take you outside the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.

Contact Info


  • 1st floor

Contact Number(s)

  • 843-577-5011
  • 888-789-7345

Hours of Operation

  • Mon-Fri 7:00am-5:30pm