Dr. James Lanter was part of the Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) family since March 2016. His life is being remembered by hospital officials and the PMC community, following the orthopedic hand surgeon’s untimely death at the age of 58 this past week.
He is being remembered as a dedicated, dependable, beloved physician who had earned the respect of his coworkers, patients and their families.
Dr. Lanter received his medical degree from University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in 1985. He trained in orthopedic surgery at Tulane University, then completed a fellowship for hand and microvascular surgery at Duke University Medical Center.
He later completed an additional fellowship in reconstructive spinal surgery. Throughout his career he practiced as both a board certified orthopedic spine surgeon and hand surgeon at various times. He spent the past 11 years of his career as a hand and microvascular specialist with the past two years being at PMC. He specialized in complicated hand trauma including fractures, crush injuries, nerve injuries, as well as tendon and ligament repair.He found joy in spending extra time with his patients and getting to know them on a personal level. As a surgeon, he strived to help them get back to a normal function and quality of life. He was a very detailed and conscientious person and surgeon, always spending extra time to make sure everything he did was the best he could. He treated everyone as he would his own family, and spent the time to make them comfortable that they were getting the best care possible.
Anyone that ever met Dr. Lanter knew that as dedicated as he was to his patients and career he was more dedicated to his family. Many people likely felt they knew his family even if they had never met them from the stories he would tell and love he showed for them. He was married to his wife, Brigitte, for 34 years. Additional survivors include his three daughters, Katherine (Jeremy) Workman, Stephanie Paige Lanter and Victoria Lanter; and one grandson, Brock Workman.
In addition to the love he had for his family, Dr. Lanter was an outdoor enthusiast who loved to hunt and fish. He would spend as much time with patients talking about these things as he would their medical problems.
In his short time at PMC, Dr. Lanter made a huge impact not only on his patient’s, but on everyone that worked with him. He served as an example of what it meant to be a good physician, colleague, husband, father and person. He will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Graveside services were held on Feb. 17 in Alabama.
Colleagues reflect on late doctor as deep religious family man
“One night, Dr. Lanter and I were waiting on a room for a patient. We had time to talk about family, God and music. We began talking more in depth about God. We talked about our testimonies and I mentioned that I had seen him pray before one of his cases. He then shared that he said the Lord’s Prayer and a small prayer from God to guide him through the procedure before every single case while he was scrubbing in. It touched my heart. He then mentioned that many patients come to him after surgery and say ‘thank you for saving my hand.’ He said he told them he didn’t save the hand, God did. That God just worked through my hands. I will never forget the God-fearing, compassionate man that I thought the world of.”
– Alyssa Kidd, PACU RN
“He truly cared for every patient and all he knew. His smile was so contagious. He was always in a good mood
and he loved to laugh.” — PMC staff
“Dr. Lanter was one of the nicest surgeons I have ever worked with. He was always so patient and polite. He was down to earth and easy to talk to. He cared about each of his patients and always made them feel important. He will be greatly missed.” — Leah Rose, RN
“Dr. Lanter was one of the kindest doctor’s I’ve ever worked with. He loved his job, he loved his family and he loved people. That was evident every single time I saw him.” — PMC staff
“He talked about God and the Bible while I was helping him during procedures. He was so knowledgeable about it. He was so sincere. He was always smiling. He always prayed with his patients if they wanted him to.” — PMC staff
“I thankfully had the opportunity to work with Dr. Lanter. Every day with him was a good day because he never got angry and every day we worked together we never ran out of things to talk about. He loved his family dearly. He always had a story that involved them.” — Taylor Plymale.
“He was truly one of the best men I have ever met. I have so many memories with him. He was a man that loved his family. He would always talk about his daughters and how proud he was of them. I’m proud to say I worked with James Lanter. We all loved him. He will be missed.” — PMC staff
“He loved his wife, daughters and music. He was always in a good mood and he was great with his patients.” — PMC staff
“He was so pleasant to work with and he always asked how everyone was. He was always personable.” —PMC staff
“He was always so patient and loved to teach. He was a great surgeon.” —PMC staff
“He enjoyed his job and loved his family. He always bragged on his daughters.” — PMC staff