Inspired by the care he received following an automobile wreck, Dr. David Hooker now works to provide the same high level of care of patients facing emergency treatment.
Hooker is the Medical Director for the Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto Emergency Department, which next week will work from the completed first phase of a $19 million expansion and renovation project.
Officials provided a “sneak peek” of the expanded ER area of the Southaven hospital on Monday. The second phase which will commence involves renovating 9,000 square feet of space in the ER department. When finished early next year, Baptist-DeSoto will have a 42,000-square-foot facility that will feature treatment rooms and a new CT scanning room.
The expansion is done to meet the growing need in a growing county, Hooker said.
“The population in DeSoto County continues to grow and so we need to grow along with it,” Hooker pointed out. “In the end, we will have 71 treatment spaces, which is well above the current 30 that we are working with now.”
The need for emergency treatment is borne out by the demand for the service, just in the most recent past.
“This last week alone, our average was 196 patients a day,” Hooker noted. “That’s well above the 160 average it was when I started here five years ago. We’re continuing to grow along with the county.”
Hooker comes to Baptist-DeSoto as part of a medical career that began as a paramedic.
“I’ve been here five years,” Hooker said, who has been the department’s medical director for two years. “I started here in April 2013. Going back into the early 1990s, I brought patients to Baptist as a paramedic from Sardis in 1992.”
The decision to going into medicine was spurred by an incident that happened to Hooker while he was attending Mississippi State University.
“”I had a car wreck my freshman year and encountered EMS and I was taken to the emergency department,” Hooker said. “I spent several hours there getting sewn back together and that peaked my interest in the medical field. I became a paramedic, finished college, got my biology degree and went on to medical school. Emergency medicine has always been my interest.”
Hooker feels being able to focus on treatment and making people well again is what is gratification for the work he does.
“I get to treat patients as they come in for whatever they need and I get to provide them care in their most critical time,” said Hooker. “That’s very rewarding to be able to do that and to be able to provide care at that time.”
The Baptist-DeSoto Emergency Department includes 10 full-time physicians trained in the specialty, plus clinicians, nurse practitioners, assistants, nursing staff and technicians.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.