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“At UCC it's the quality of the care. I've never worked with so many people (office staff, techs, nurses, P.A.'s and doctors) who care so much about doing a good job....They're the people I'd want taking care of me.”
Dr. Walter Simmons, Partner, UCC of SWFL
What inspired you to become a physician specializing in Emergency Medicine?
When I was a child, my mother was one of the 3 or 4 physicians in our rural county in Missouri. The closest emergency room was a good 30 minutes away.... Late one evening, a neighbor brought her child who was choking on an eraser to our home. Without hesitation, my mother performed CPR and successfully dislodged the eraser, saving the child's life....After my mother refused to accept any payment for the care, the neighbor had delivered to our house the next morning what most certainly had to be the entire inventory of the local flower shop. These experiences were not only motivational toward becoming a physician, but toward choosing emergency medicine as my specialty.
Can you describe a particularly memorable or rewarding experience with a patient at UCC?
A couple years ago, I took care of a tough old shrimp boat captain. He had been at sea for about three weeks. Most of that time he had a large fish hook stuck in a finger on his left hand. The finger looked awful and I told him he needed to be admitted to the hospital to see a hand surgeon, get IV antibiotics, and if all went well, they might be able to save the finger. He refused, declaring that under no circumstances would he ever go to the hospital, declaring he 'would rather lose his hand.' I told him he might and he signed an "against medical advise" waiver. He insisted that I numb the finger and try to remove the hook. I obliged and gave him a shot of antibiotics and injected lidocaine to numb the finger. I told him I would be back in a few minutes to try to remove the hook after the lidocaine had had time to work. When I went back to check on him, he had removed the hook, washed the wound with a betadine scrub brush, and was applying topical antibiotics. Not sure what to think, I asked, 'What happened?' He replied: 'Doc, this ain't the first time I hooked a finger...If I'd had some of that lidocaine on board I'd still be out there shrimp'n right now.' He stopped in a few days later for a wound check, and luckily, he was markedly improved.
When you are not treating others, what hobbies do you enjoy most?
My wife and I have been truly blessed with two children and I enjoy sleep when I get a chance!