You might know Donovan N. Tapper, MD. as one of two reflux surgeons at Tampa Bay Reflux Center. You might even know his credentials, where he studied, that he’s a board-certified general surgeon, and that he’s one of the kindest men you’ll ever meet – but, there’s a lot more to Dr. Tapper than meets the eye.
When Dr. Tapper joined our team in 2016, we already knew there was a lot of extraordinary in him, and soon enough, our staff and our patients started to realize it too. Let’s just say, he’s not your average surgeon.
Before coming to us, Dr. Tapper served in the U.S. Air Force for 13 years as a surgeon general.
He’s worked in war zones and in humanitarian disaster areas in Africa, he’s toured and worked in England, Tampa, Iraq, Germany, and San Antonio. In 2004, while serving in Iraq, he was assigned to the base’s 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group, the largest expeditionary medical support unit in the country.
His medical experience is as extensive as it is varied.
Once Dr. Tapper completed his military service, he joined Suncoast Surgical Associates, where he went on to work for the GI branch at our Tampa Bay Reflux Center office.
“We (at Tampa Bay Reflux Center) are very focused on making medical recommendations based on a patient's specific individual needs. One size does not fit all!” he says, discussing the practice’s overall message.
Dr. Tapper seems proud of what he’s achieved in and out of the military but, having lived such an active and interesting life so far, we wondered, why reflux? His response was simple: “Reflux is extremely common and can significantly affect quality of life. I take great satisfaction from contributing to improving people's lives.”
Having spent over a decade serving in the Air Force, we can see where he’s coming from.
In addition to his general surgeon education, Dr. Tapper specialized in the laparoscopic treatment of reflux, hiatal hernias, and achalasia.
“My true passion in life is learning something (anything) new,” he says.
Meanwhile, he’s also received training in minimally invasive abdominal surgery to include laparoscopic surgery of the abdominal wall, gallbladder, stomach, colon, and spleen.
It would seem that Dr. Tapper’s life revolves around his practice. But, as he’s slowed down and settled into the team at Tampa Bay Reflux Center, he’s taken to enjoying his weekends and his time away from the office. When he’s not busy helping to change lives at our offices, you’ll find Dr. Tapper out for a spin on his Harley Davidson, listening to music, reading, or working out.
And, as far as the future goes, Dr. Tapper has big (but relaxing) plans for his retirement. What would he like to do, we wondered. Again, his response was plain and simple: “Farm, fish, learn how to play golf.”
If you’re lucky enough to have been one of Dr. Tapper’s patients, you’ll know that he’s not just an incredible surgeon, he truly is a very special man as well. His kindness and his passion to help others are evident in everything he does, and it’s part of why our patients love him so much. We’re so grateful to have Dr. Tapper as someone we can look up to, both personally and professionally, and look forward to seeing him continue to help others in the community through his work here.