Mount Vernon, Texas – Ask Dr. Mark Hamilton what he likes best about practicing emergency medicine at ETMC Mount Vernon and he’s likely to provide you with a list of the positives.
Hamilton has been working in the emergency department at ETMC Mount Vernon for about two years. He’s been the ED medical director for nearly a year. He completed his undergraduate studies and medical school at the University of Oklahoma. He completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler. It was through his residency that he was introduced to emergency medicine. “As a resident, I worked in the emergency room at all three hospitals in Tyler for three years,” Hamilton said.
That introduction led him to choose to practice in the emergency department. He was drawn to emergency medicine in part because of its immediate return on investment. “With emergency medicine, you see an immediate benefit. When a patient comes in, hopefully, by the time they leave, they are better. You’ve stitched up their laceration. You’ve set their broken bone. You don’t always get that in a clinic setting. That’s very rewarding.”
Developing relationships with patients also is rewarding for Hamilton. That is one of the things that he likes about ETMC Mount Vernon. “Because we are a smaller hospital in a smaller community, I often get to spend more time with patients than is typical. There also is a continuity of care that our size affords. I often treat the same patient or members of the same family. For example, I put stitches in a patient about 10 days ago, and today, I removed those stitches.”
Another benefit afforded by the community and hospital’s size is the short wait time in the ED. Average wait times are 30 minutes or less from the time of check in to the time a patient sees a physician at ETMC Mount Vernon. A physician and nurses specializing in emergency care are on site staffing the ED 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Many times we can see them almost immediately,” Hamilton said.
The ED is also designated a Level IV trauma center by the state of Texas, which means the hospital has specific equipment, as well as staff, who have completed specialized training to provide stabilization and treatment for injured patients. Agreements for referrals and transfer are in place to prevent delay if a higher level of care is needed. There are 263 designated trauma centers in the state of Texas. Eighty-four counties do not have a trauma center.
“When a trauma patient is brought in we assess their condition and treat them if possible. If a higher level of care is needed, we stabilize them for transport to Tyler. Helicopter transport is just seven minutes away,” Hamilton said.
Quality is a priorityProviding quality healthcare is a priority for Hamilton. “My goal is to make sure the emergency department functions as well as possible. I want to create an efficient, caring, safe environment for emergency care” he said. To accomplish that, a number of changes have been made at the ETMC Mount Vernon ED in recent months. Computer software has been updated. The triage process has been modified to allow nurses to perform that function more efficiently. A clerk has been added to provide additional clerical support. The hospital also has purchased updated airway management devices.
“We are keenly aware that for some, their first or only experience with ETMC Mount Vernon will be through our emergency department,” said Brett Kirkham, administrator of ETMC Mount Vernon. “We want that experience to be the best it can possibly be—quality, efficient healthcare. Dr. Hamilton shares that vision. We are pleased to have him lead our ED staff as we move forward caring for the people of Franklin County and surrounding areas.”
Hamilton expressed similar views on the importance of patient satisfaction. “I take it personally. I love this hospital. I enjoy working here. I enjoy meeting people in the community. I want the people in this community to receive good care.”
ETMC Mount Vernon is part of East Texas’ largest healthcare system, the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System. ETMC is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life in communities throughout East Texas.
Other ETMC facilities include hospitals in Athens, Carthage, Clarksville, Crockett, Fairfield, Gilmer, Henderson, Jacksonville, Mount Vernon, Pittsburg, Quitman, Trinity and Tyler.