Freeman News

Freeman Welcomes New Cardiothoracic Surgeon

November 19, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Lee Offers 25 years of Experience and Caring

Joplin, MO - Freeman Health System is proud to welcome cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Lee. He has performed more than 3,500 open, robotic or minimally invasive surgeries over 25 years.

“As I start my new practice serving patients in the Joplin area, I look forward to the opportunity to continue to make a real difference in people’s lives, to heal the sick and to save lives,” says Dr. Lee. “It’s what I was meant to do. Over the last year, I have performed locum cardiothoracic surgery at Freeman. Although I have worked at many world-class institutions in my career, I have found the care here to be as good as, if not better than, many more-recognized institutions. I chose to move my practice here due to the excellent care I can provide and the supportive collegiality of all the physicians, nurses, staff and administration. “

Dr. Lee is an advocate for minimally invasive procedures because they cause less trauma to the body, less pain and scarring, and less blood loss, reducing the need for blood transfusions.

“I chose to become a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon because I wanted a career where I could help my fellow man in the most significant way possible,” says Dr. Lee. “I always consider what is best for my patients and work collaboratively with them and their families to ensure they get the best possible care. My primary goal is to help them regain the energy and long-term health they desire.”

A graduate of Cornell University, New York University School of Medicine, UCLA Medical Center and Weill-Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Lee decided in 2011 to advance his skillset even further. He completed advanced clinical fellowships in endovascular surgery in Illinois, a robotic and minimally invasive heart bypass surgery fellowship at University of Maryland, and a robotic and minimally invasive heart valve surgery fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. 

Dr. Lee joins the award-winning Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute team which was recognized by the American College of Cardiology NCDR Chest Pain-MI Registry as one of the top 124 hospitals in the nation and by the American Heart Association with the 2020 Mission: Lifeline® NSTEMI Gold Achievement Award.

Dr. Lee was recognized with the Memorial Care Medical Group Excellence award for achieving the highest patient satisfaction ratings. He credits three things with that success.

“Receiving advanced training at Cleveland Clinic was transformative for me,” says Dr. Lee. “I took to heart their motto, ‘Patients First.’ We put our patients first in all that we do.”

Dr. Lee also stresses the importance of selecting the proper procedure for each patient. He says lessons learned in kindergarten can apply to medicine, including the golden rule.

“Treat all your patients as you would want to be treated,” Dr. Lee says. “It’s not the size of the incision that is most important but rather achieving an excellent overall result. If I feel the patient is well-suited to a minimally invasive or endovascular approach, that’s what I suggest to them. If I feel they are better suited for a more traditional procedure, that’s what I recommend to them. I think patients appreciate my thoughtfulness, experience and honesty.”

Lastly, Dr. Lee says before patients care what you know, they need to know that you care. It is something he learned from several mentors.

“I learned the amazing power of patience and touch,” says Dr. Lee. “I always make sure I sit down and talk with my patients daily. I want to answer all their questions and concerns. Being in a hospital is a scary experience, and a few minutes of my time is well worth alleviating any distress for my patients.”


About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit