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Bacon puts sizzle in UMMC’s anesthesiology department

Published on Monday, October 13, 2014

Published on October 13, 2014

A case of bad timing a few years ago stopped Dr. Douglas Bacon from interviewing for the top position in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“I had signed the paperwork to be the chair (of anesthesiology) at Wayne State University, and the next day got a phone call that the chair was open at UMMC,” said Bacon. “I thought about it for 24 hours, but I had given my word to Wayne State and signed the papers, so I couldn’t go back.”

But when UMMC called again earlier this year to inform him the spot was open again, Bacon knew he couldn’t pass on the serendipitous moment.

“The next thing I know, I was down here, looking around. I thought this was a really great place, and there is a lot of potential here to grow and become even better than we are,” said Bacon, who, in addition to his medical degree, has a Master of Arts in history and an interest in researching the history of anesthesiology.

Having been in his new position a couple of months, Bacon already stands out, thanks in part to his accessories, such as a ties and surgical hats covered in cartoon pigs and, in one instance, plates of bacon.

“It pays to advertise,” he said, laughing at his owns jokes about his last name.

The father of four sons and one daughter is, himself, a walking advertisement, ready to discuss his department and the work everyone there is doing.

“Day to day, I manage a group of 40 anesthesiologists, 73 nurse anesthetists, 35 residents and fellows,” he said. “I handle the responsibilities of student education and resident education. It’s a fairly good size department” that can grow, he added.

Bacon said he wants to see the Department of Anesthesiology become a full-service unit, one that encompasses more fellowships and advanced training. Another area he wants to grow: research.

“We’re sitting in the home of Arthur Guyton, the world’s most famous physiologist,” said Bacon, referencing the late professor emeritus of physiology and biophysics, former chair of the Department of Physiology, and celebrated researcher. “I would like to be able to start partnering with some of our colleagues in basic science with some of our faculty here and develop that and make it a really strong part of our department.”

Bacon said it’s important to stress that UMMC has the potential to become as good as any medical center in the country.

“We have the unique resources of the state behind us,” he said. “We have challenges we have to face. We have a leader in our administrative team that wants to tackle those challenges.

“And I really want to see us have a full-service department where all facets of anesthesia are covered.”