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Best of Vicksburg

Dr. Thomas Houseal wins Best Chiropractor in Best of Vicksburg 2020

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(photo by David Day)

Dr. Thomas Houseal has been a chiropractor since 1976, 43 years.

“I’ve been throughout the entire state, working for different doctors until I opened my own place here 21 years ago,” he said. His clinic, New Health Chiropractic Center, is located at 1825 North Frontage Road.

Originally from Davenport, Iowa, Houseal said his coming to Mississippi, and eventually Vicksburg, was a matter of fate.

“It was just meant to be,” he said. “Everything, every step was in order.”

Houseal met his wife, Lucy, in Hattiesburg just before he moved to Booneville.

“We had a six- or eight-month long-distance relationship,” he said. “I called her every night at the same time.”

The couple married Oct. 5, 1996. She works alongside her husband at the clinic.

“We sort of designated her the personal injury specialist,” Houseal said, adding that she follows up with patients to find out how they’re doing.

Holly, the clinic’s front-desk person, has been there for 14 years. “She’s a great asset,” he said.

While many people associate chiropractic only with back problems, Houseal indicated that the practice has far reaching implications for the entire body.

“My favorite case to get my hands on are headache cases because they respond so well to chiropractic,” he said.

Chiropractors perform adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body with the goals of correcting alignment problems, easing pain and supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself, according the MedlinePlus.com.

“My miracle case was a 3-year-old child that had asthma, Houseal said. “The parents brought him in because they were exhausted because he was on breathing treatments. We found out through exam and X-rays that he had a misalignment in the mid-back area, and those nerves go to the lungs. So, we did what we did, and we found he was a heavy milk drinker, so they cut back on that to a degree. And so, within three months he was off all breathing treatments.”

Some patients view chiropractic as a “last resort” treatment “because they tried the medical route,” he said, and it didn’t provide relief. Others may have been told they needed surgery and are looking for alternatives before going under the knife.

Like other medical specialists, chiropractors earn their D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) after four years of postgraduate study. They also serve a one-year internship.

Houseal, now 68, has no plans to retire soon. He will continue his practice “as long as I can because there aren’t too many younger chiropractors coming into the state,” he said. “Most of us are up there in age.”

If you decide chiropractic could be good for what ails you, Houseal said the process is straightforward. “Exam, X-rays, therapy,” he said. To schedule an appointment, call 601-634-1600.

Watch for announcements of winners for Best Pharmacist, Best Nurse, Best Clinic, Best Nursing Home and Best Hospice coming soon.

Don’t forget to cast your votes for the Best Automotive Sales & Service providers in September! Every month VDN will have a new category to highlight the professionals that serve our community on our Cast Your Vote page.

 

Best of Vicksburg

Dr. Debbie Smith wins Best Pediatrician in Best of Vicksburg 2020

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Dr. Debbie Smith (photo by David Day)

Most folks call her Dr. Debbie.

Pediatrician Dr. Deborah Smith has been in Vicksburg for 39 years — “since July of 1981,” she said.

Originally from Brownsville, Tennessee, about 60 miles northeast of Memphis, Smith did her undergraduate work at the University of Mississippi and went on to medical school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she also completed her residency.

Smith was planning to stay in the Nashville area to practice but came to Vicksburg “on a lark” to help the Sisters of Mercy update their nursery at Mercy Hospital. “Neonatology was a new field at the time,” she said, and the sisters needed help in updating their facilities.

Over the years, Smith has seen her patients grow up and bring her their children for care.

“I have a few third generations (of patients),” she said, “not very many, but a few — lots of second generations.”

“It’s fun,” Smith added. “If the kids weren’t fun, you wouldn’t keep doing it. The nice thing about it is that you already know a lot of the family history already in your head — more than what’s on the paper, essentially. … It’s fun to watch them grow up.”

In her practice, she sees children from birth to age 19. “We do kick ’em out age 19, and they have to go see a real doctor,” she said.

Smith had difficulty coming up with just one most memorable experience. What has stuck with her are the patients who were very sick and ended up doing well, patients who went into medicine — “You hope you had some part in that,” she said — and patients who were afraid and “ended up loving you”.

She’s also enjoyed seeing pediatrics evolve over the years, from being reactive and only seeing patients when they were sick to being more proactive in preventing illnesses through vaccinations and doing the right things.

“I tell patients that the purpose of a pediatrician is to put themselves out of business,” she said.

“Part of our job as pediatricians is to educate new mothers, old mothers (and) grandparents on what we expect as their children grow up, and I think that’s a big part of the pediatrician’s role,” Smith added. “It’s not just about taking care of them when they’re sick.”

Smith has never been married and has no children, although she has a menagerie of dogs, cats and, at one time, horses. She considers her patients her children, in a way, although she lets their ‘real’ parents give them all breakfast, as she told one little boy who asked about the photos on her wall.

“I think the fun part of pediatrics is kids,” she said. “Generally, they may get sick quickly, they get well quickly, and there’s just so much reward in seeing them grow up.”

Her practice has not been without challenges. Right now, the biggest of those is COVID-19. Smith is a firm believer in wearing masks, social distancing and hand-washing. “We’re learning to deal with it,” she said.

Smith has no plans to retire, and says she’ll stick with it “as long as it’s fun, and it usually is… and as long as my knees hold out.”


Don’t forget to cast your votes for the Best in Pets in October! Every month VDN will have a new category to highlight the professionals that serve our community on our Cast Your Vote page.

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Best of Vicksburg

Dr. Robert Masterson wins Best Physician in Best of Vicksburg 2020

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Dr. Robert Masterson, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine with Mission Primary Care Clinic (photo by David Day)

Dr. Robert Masterson has cared for patients at Mission Primary Care Clinic as a family physician for 24 years.

Masterson says he always wanted to work in medicine. He was inspired by his father, Dr. Chester Masterson, who was an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat surgeon) here in Vicksburg for 40 years.

He said his father never pushed him toward medicine, but seeing how his father served the community and was able to help so many people solidified his decision to go to medical school.

“It was definitely more than I expected,” he said of the grueling medical school schedule. “It was pretty tough, but it was fun; it was enjoyable, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Masterson was genuinely touched to learn that he was voted Best Physician by his patients. Serving the community has always been his motivation and great source of pride.

“Seeing some of the people that I grew up with and having them allow me to care of their family members — what an honor that is,” Masterson said. “It is humbling, and it’s an honor.”

Helping his patients and guiding them in making major medical decisions can be quite a lot of responsibility. Masterson said he relies on his faith to help him through. “Every day before I come to the clinic, I always ask God to give me guidance in treating patients,” he said.

Watch for announcements of winners for Best Pharmacist, Best Nurse, Best Clinic, Best Chiropractor, Best Nursing Home and Best Hospice coming soon.

Don’t forget to cast your votes for the Best Automotive Sales & Service providers in September! Every month VDN will have a new category to highlight the professionals that serve our community on our Cast Your Vote page.

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Best of Vicksburg

Kay McDaniel wins Best Nurse Practitioner in Best of Vicksburg 2020

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(photo by David Day)

Kay McDaniel has spent the last 17 years dedicating herself to caring for Vicksburg residents with the team at Mission Primary Care Clinic.

Kay says she loves her job, but the best part is the relationships she has developed with patients over the years. “I just always enjoyed taking care of people,” she said.

Her career began as a nurse in the emergency room, where she worked for eight years. She continued her schooling and training to become a nurse practitioner, enabling her to help even more people.

The people she has dedicated her life to caring for showed their appreciation by voting her Vicksburg’s Best Nurse Practitioner.

In the age of COVID-19, recognizing and appreciating those that work in health care, like Kay, is the least we can do.

Be sure to cast your vote for the Best in Automotive Sales and Service this month!

 

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