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Memphis firm will staff ER

MONTICELLO — Familiar doctor faces in the emergency room atLawrence County Hospital may be disappearing as the medicalfacility moves to provide more stable coverage.

The hospital has contracted with Keystone Emergency ManagementGroup of Memphis to provide emergency room doctors 24 hours a day,seven days a week, beginning June 1, hospital administrator SemmesRoss said. Local physicians may be asked to supplement Keystone’spersonnel, but it would be their choice to do so, he said.

He said the change will not effect the quality or availabilityof care in the ER. If anything, he said, having a doctor presentduring the day can only improve how quickly care is received.

For many years, according to Ross, the emergency room wasstaffed by local physicians. The physicians had a rotating schedulefor evening hours and weekends but would have to leave theirprivate practice if an emergency came in during the day, hesaid.

“They did a very fine job,” Ross said. “They provided tremendousservice over the years, but we feel this will provide a moreconsistent presence in the emergency room and, possibly, save ourlocal physicians some extra work.”

Ross said it is still possible the local physicians may be inthe emergency room, but that it would be their choice to be afterJune 1.

In other matters, LCH welcomes Dr. Randy Tillman, agastroentorologist from Natchez, to its staff and will soon offerCAT scans.

Tillman will be visiting LCH Thursday afternoons to providecolonoscopy screenings and other “scopes”. The appointments will bemade by the patient’s physician as part of the hospital’s newoutpatient services.

Tillman has more than 22 years of experience and practices inNatchez. He has been performing “scopes” at Franklin CountyHospital for nearly 20 years, which he will continue to do Thursdaymornings.

“I love coming to little towns,” Tillman said. “They people areso friendly and nice. I enjoy the small town atmospheres.”

Ross, who invited Tillman to practice in Monticello afterworking with him for many years at Franklin County Hospital, saidthe new doctor brings a much valued commodity to the hospital.

“Geographically,” Tillman said, “this area was underserved. Thebiggest thing we offer is the screening for colon cancer.”

Colon cancer, Tillman said, is the second most fatal form ofcancer in the nation, but the death rate could be cut in half withcolonoscopy screening.

And, he said, LCH is one of the best places to get thatscreening.

“They bought the best equipment in the world to put here,”Tillman said. “I don’t even have equipment of this quality to workwith in Natchez.”

More new equipment is expected May 21, Ross said, when the CATscan equipment arrives.

A room has already been prepared for it and electrical work inthose rooms is being redone to account for the equipment’sincreased electrical demands.

Ross said he expects the CAT scan to be operational around June1.