While still young, Dr. Randall B. Barnes (BS ’75) spent his summers working on his grandfather’s farm in southeastern Idaho. One of those summers, a cow was sick and had a swollen flank. Barnes plunged a butcher knife into the cow’s flank, releasing the gas, allowing the cow to survive; that was the first time Barnes performed surgery.
Now, Dr. Barnes is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist living in Chicago. He is a leader in women’s health and assists women with fertility issues, as well as spending three decades in academic medicine with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Chicago Magazine has named him one of the finest specialists of women’s health.
One of his greatest joys comes from helping patients through the in vitro fertilization procedure. When he shows his patients a baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound, the ““patients are usually so relieved, so excited. It’s really a great experience to be able to show them that and say, ‘There it is! There’s your baby!’”
“Our children can bring us great sorrow, and I’m sure children would say the same thing about their parents,” he says. “But they bring us such a tremendous amount of happiness.”
Prior to receiving his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1979, Dr. Barnes earned a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry from BYU and says it was a superb education in his major both in its depth and its breadth. “I could keep up with my classmates in medical school, many of whom had Ivy League educations, and BYU gave me a desire to keep learning and growing spiritually,” he says. He and his wife Claire Taylor Barnes passed those feelings about BYU onto their five children, all of whom have BYU degrees.
And while he lauds his chemistry and other science classes for giving him the foundation for his profession, he says his most significant class at BYU was a Book of Mormon class taught by Chauncey Riddle. Brother Riddle taught him that “The scriptures deserve and reward our earnest study and meditation.”