The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


April 25, 2014

Army veteran opens medical facility in Cooper

GREENVILLE — When Physician Assistant Scott Stegall first relocated to the Cooper Community Health Center from his practice in Commerce, he knew setting up a family medical clinic in the small, rural community with limited resources would present a challenge.

However, Stegall has steadily managed to build a trustworthy, positive and productive relationship between the clinic and the residents of Cooper.

“I’m building it up, slowly,” Stegall said.

The health center is part of a larger organization of the community health clinic system called Community Health Service Agency, Inc., which operates clinics in multiple communities across North Texas.

Located on the corner of West Side Square, the spacious clinic serves as the community’s lone — and much welcomed — medical facility.

According to Stegall, the majority of his patients he sees on a daily basis are diagnosed with some type of chronic disease. About 70 percent of his patients have diabetes, and 78 percent also have high blood pressure.

Stegall said his job has him spending a lot of time with his patients, not only treating them but also educating them on ways to prevent future health problems.

“Here, the focus is on prevention and intervention,” Stegall said.

Stegall, who joined the health center in Cooper about three months ago, first became interested in the medical field when a cousin introduced him to some first aid techniques back when he was a teenager.

Stegall followed in his cousin’s footsteps and joined the infantry after graduating high school in 1977.

After his first tour of duty in the Army, Stegall re-enlisted to become a medic, where he said he gained all of his medical knowledge and skills.

“There was echelons of care and routes of evacuation for the wounded,” Stegall said. “I was running what was called a Patient Collection Point. The front-line medics put bandages on them and started IVs. They would bring them to me and I would further treat and stabilize them, and then evacuate them to the rear hospital.

“The whole concept’s built around trying to treat people as close to the front lines as possible, and get them back to where they belong.”

During his years in school preparing to treat wounded soldiers, Stegall never realized that he would find himself performing his first amputation mere months after graduating.

“When I was in school, there was this grizzled old Special Forces PA who taught us our orthopedics, and I remember him saying, ‘Mark my words, within two years of you graduating, somebody here is going to do an amputation,’” Stegall said.

Eighteen months after hearing those words, during the Gulf War, Stegall was brought a young Iraqi child who had been shot four times and left in a hole for four days. The fore-end of the kid’s foot had been nearly shot off and could not be saved.

“Sure enough, I finished the amputation,” Stegall said.

After his stint in the Army, Stegall continued to practice rural family medicine, a field he said involves acquiring a lot of knowledge in many different areas.

“Specialists and sub-specialists, they know a lot about a little,” Stegall said. “In family medicine, we have to know a lot about everything.”

Stegall hopes to attract some more medical providers to the clinic, but for now is content with a position he said has been a very rewarding experience for him.

“This is probably the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve really felt like I was impacting people’s lives. It’s very satisfying, and I’m really enjoying it.”

In addition to Stegall’s clinic in Cooper, CHSA has its largest clinic in Greenville with nine providers, as well as a clinic in Farmersville with two providers, one in Bonham with one provider, and one in Kaufman with three providers and a dental clinic in Greenville.


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