Maurice E. Graham: Treating 30 kids a day for 35 years

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Maurice E. Graham, M.D. and patient (Jennifer Holden/WYDaily)
Maurice E. Graham, M.D., and patient. (Jennifer Holden/WYDaily)

On any given day, Dr. Maurice E. Graham diligently attempts to bring health and wellness to children who are ill. From ensuring the proper growth of premature babies, to mending sports injuries – and everything in between – he has spent the past 35 years working as a pediatrician in Williamsburg in hopes of promoting a healthy community of children.

Graham grew up in Arkansas, the son of a commercial artist and executive secretary. After receiving his B.S. in education and training from the University of Central Arkansas, he received his M.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine in Little Rock, Ark. Graham fulfilled his internship and pediatric residency at the Regional Naval Medical Center in Oakland, Calif., and the University of California in San Francisco, Calif.

He was drawn to Williamsburg after spending time vacationing in the area several times.

“My wife and I did everything you could do in regards to Colonial Williamsburg. We were enthralled with the history of the area – visualizing George Washington walking here and Thomas Jefferson studying there,” Graham said.

The location fit his criteria of living in an environment that was close to the ocean, mountains and within quick reach of a major city.

He began his career in Williamsburg during the summer of 1981 working as a staff pediatrician for Sentara Medical Group, Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center and Williamsburg Community Hospital. He reached the position of chief of staff at Williamsburg Community Hospital in 1999.

Graham currently sees approximately 30 patients a day at Sentara Pediatric Physicians located in New Town.

“He’s a great teacher. When we have something rare, he rounds up all the nurses and explains what the condition is and how you treat it. We’ve actually had a lot of people travel to see Dr. Graham who live in surrounding cities like Virginia Beach, Suffolk and Chesapeake because their pediatricians didn’t have the answers they were looking for,” said Graham’s nurse of 10 years, Kerrie Falin.

Claudette Canady found herself in this very position several years ago and brought her daughter in to be seen by Graham.

“My daughter was experiencing severe breathing problems and her previous doctor’s remedy was to prescribe cough syrup. Some coworkers of mine recommended seeing Dr. Graham for the issue. He did some tests, discovered she had asthma and put her on medication to open up her air tubes. He won me over at that moment. My daughter felt relief the very next day after our appointment,” Canady said.

Graham is very visual when it comes to describing ailments to his patients and their parents. After verbally describing a child’s condition, he’s known to draw diagrams to further explain conditions to ensure parents completely understand the nature of their child’s illness.

He explained Canady’s daughter’s condition to her with diagrams, and she said it made all the difference in her comprehension of her daughter’s condition.

“Helping someone get over something that could easily be missed by somebody is very gratifying. I’ve learned over the years that you really need to listen to your moms,” Graham said.

He’s also adamant regarding parents keeping up to date with their children’s vaccinations. In his career, he’s seen two young patients die from chickenpox and an infant die from polio.

“We have a small percentage in society who read things on the internet and then become anti-shot. We have parents out there who are still frightened about immunizations,” Graham said.

When Graham isn’t spending his time helping children remain healthy, he enjoys spending time with his family and painting.

And at 68 years old, he has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

“As long as I’ve got my health, and my brain and body are working properly, I have no plans to quit. I love what I do,” Graham said.