Be a part of memories in medicine

Published 12:07 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

I will never forget throwing up on Dr. Killelea. I was 5 years old and obviously pretty sick, and sitting on his exam table when it occurred. I remember thinking that he was going to be really mad at me and maybe even scream, but he didn’t. He told me that I was going to be OK and he was there to take care of me and not to worry about what had just happened. I was never afraid of doctors from then on and when I think of Dr. Killelea, my memories are of a sweet, gentle, kind man with a robust laugh who made me feel better when I was sick.

Dr. Killelea was a wonderful pediatrician and a community-minded citizen who gave so much to his patients, family, friends, colleagues and volunteer organizations. He is not alone in this category of outstanding physicians, and I am happy to announce a documentary titled Memories in Medicine that will honor, posthumously, these wonderful physicians who contributed so much to the medical community throughout the years. The newly formed Healthcare Foundation of Natchez Regional Medical Center will host a gala on Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Natchez Convention Center, and the documentary that has been months in the making will be unveiled.

Your help is needed, however, to make this recording of medical history complete. While contact has been made with many of the physicians’ families, we want to capture memories that their patients can share as well. There are so many names that invoke great memories — Dr. Tom Gandy; Dr. Sidney Graves; Dr. David Steckler; Dr. John Coffey; Dr. Gene Taylor; Dr. Swink Hicks; Dr. David Hall; Dr. Clifford Tillman; Dr. Margaret Veller; Dr. Jerry Iles and Dr. Mal Morgan, just to name a few.

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If you are interested in being a part of this recorded medical history, please contact me at Natchez Regional, 601-443-2534, or via e-mail at Please forward this request for information to any family members of deceased physicians that may not live in town. We want to include as many physicians as possible and certainly do not want to leave out anyone.

Time is of the essence, as we have lots of editing and polishing to accomplish. A special thank you to Mimi Miller and the Historic Natchez Foundation for their role in this documentary, which includes the tracing of the first hospital built in Natchez in 1812, as well as the first African American physician to practice medicine in Natchez and many other interesting aspects of medical history in our community.

More information will follow on the Healthcare Foundation of Natchez Regional Medical Center Inc., as well as the gala on Sept. 15. Until then, unlock the memories of past physicians who left an impression on you and share them with us as we record a part of Natchez history that has never been documented.

Kay Ketchings is the director of marketing and public relations at Natchez Regional Medical Center.