In his entire career as a physician, Dr. Donald Brock, D.O., he has never driven less than an hour to work.
Since moving to Hillsdale this past September, Brock has contemplated riding his new tractor to work. Though the new emergency department director at Hillsdale Hospital jokes about the idea, Brock relishes in the possibility because it means that he has finally found his home in a small community.
Brock joined Hillsdale Hospital as ER director after the hospital switched contracts to Brock’s provider, Island Medical Management, a national provider of physicians in emergency departments and urgent care centers. Brock is currently the midwest regional director for Island Medical Management.
“I’ve had the opportunity in my role as a regional director to work all over the country, from Alaska to Louisiana, and I’ve seen that small communities sometimes don’t get the care and the quality physicians that they deserve. The opportunity for me to live here and raise the bar related to ER medicine and trauma is very rewarding and refreshing to me,” Brock said.
When Hillsdale Hospital administration approached Island Management for their services, Brock visited the hospital in his role as regional director. Working out of the Detroit area, Brock was not looking for a new job when he first visited Hillsdale.
After falling in love with the community hospital, however, Brock applied for the emergency director position and kept his title secret from the majority of the Hillsdale ER team, who were unaware of his management position during his first couple weeks practicing.
“A few people did know that he was in charge, but from the very beginning Dr. Brock was part of the team, asking questions and listening,” Jessica Wright said, an ER nurse who has been working at the hospital for over ten years.
Wright said she couldn’t be happier with Brock as ER director, especially since he will lead the department through structural changes. A couple years ago, the ER department unsuccessfully tried to change how patients were received at the hospital. Under the leadership of Brock, the ER department will again undertake the implementation of a different paradigm of processing patients.
Wright explained that for over 90 percent of patients, their first face-to-face interaction with a physician is through the ER department. It is critical that the ER team makes the patient as comfortable as possible and streamline their next step in care. She thinks Brock’s engaging personality and his team player attitude is perfect for guiding the department through the transition.
“Dr. Brock listens and addresses our concerns, reassuring us that we’re going to make this something we can accomplish without fear, and giving us that light and encouragement to lead us forward,” Wright said.
However, Brock’s passion wasn’t always the ER. His original focus in medical school was to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology to deliver babies. After observing the Chicago police wrestle a man high from drugs onto a hospital cart, Brock realized the ER department contained all the action.
“I do something that very few people do, I get to save lives. In the ER, there’s not a day that goes by where you don’t make a difference in the life of a patient,” Brock said.
Brock has expanded the Hillsdale Hospital ER staff with new physicians and nurse practitioners, and has started making process changes in how the department runs to ensure patients receive the best possible care.
Finally realizing his dream of serving a small community with quality healthcare, one of Brock’s greatest joys has been having a relative come up to him and say, “thank you for taking care of grandma.”