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Dr. Donald Brock. Donald Brock | Courtesy
Dr. Donald Brock. Donald Brock | Courtesy

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.”