Serving the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire of Georgia and South Carolina.
At the core of his profession, Dr. Garrett White calls himself a problem solver. As a nephrologist who leads SouthCoast Health’s hypertension clinic, it continues to be a key part of his job description.
While studying engineering as an undergraduate, Dr. White saw a correlation with medicine. “I thought it would be interesting to be able to apply the science of engineering to the good of helping people, solving problems, and curing disease,” he said.
Once Dr. White took the leap toward medical school, he says he found himself attracted to nephrology, a specialty focusing on the kidneys. A self-described “generalist,” Dr. White became interested in the holistic aspect of nephrology.
“Although it’s a sub specialty, it really still is a generalist practice where you have to take care of the whole patient,” he said. “Not only do you need a wide range of medical knowledge, but also you need to be familiar with the psychosocial side of things, too.”
Since nephrology, kidney disease, and high blood pressure often go hand in hand, Dr. White strives to equip himself with as much information as possible. He holds certifications in internal medicine, nephrology, and hypertension.
Recently, Dr. White helped initiate SouthCoast Health’s hypertension clinic, the first and only one in the area. He works in collaboration with a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, a nurse educator, and a dietician to address all of the aspects that affect hypertension and to control its outcomes.
“They’re elderly patients who come in with a very chronic illness that often has very poor outcomes,” he explained. “In some cases, it can be a minority or a lower socio-economic class. It feels good to be able to help people navigate the system who haven’t been able to do so well in the past.”
One of his most fulfilling experiences, Dr. White says, took place behind prison walls. He cared for a convicted felon, who had to undergo dialysis. The patient eventually received a kidney transplant with positive results.
“Taking someone through that process of redemption and restoration is special,” Dr. White said. “It gave this person the opportunity to turn his life around. Now he’s able to get his life back and start working again.”
It’s these types of cases, he says, that keep him passionate about his work. Being able to put the medical puzzle pieces together to enhance someone’s quality of life inspires Dr. White to continue along the path he began charting years ago.
“When you hear high blood pressure and kidney disease, you think there’s no hope,” Dr. White said. “That’s why I’m grateful for the opportunity to problem solve each day and to take care of patients that I think are often times ignored in medicine or given up on.”
In his spare time, Dr. White enjoys spending time with his children –three sons and one daughter– and is an active CrossFit enthusiast..
In honor of National Kidney Health, our nephrologists are sharing tips to improve your kidney health and awareness. Learn about kidney health and disease from our experts.Kidney Health Tips from SouthCoast Health’s Nephrology Department