Southeast Arkansas medical professionals and administrators shared anecdotes about the late Dr. Charles Hicks Friday morning when Chicot Memorial Medical Center’s emergency suite was dedicated in his memory. Hicks, who practiced medicine in Southeast Arkansas over a span of more than four decades, worked in the emergency room at Chicot Memorial Medical Center for many years and was the chief of staff at the Lake Village hospital for several years. He died in 2010 at the age of 75.
Dr. Jack Burge, a medical colleague who also played golf with Hicks, said everything Hicks undertook he did so with a great deal of enthusiasm, whether it was medicine, duck hunting or golf.
“I always liked to play golf right behind Charlie because he kept me supplied with golf balls,” Burge quipped. “I got a lot of pleasure in taking them back to him and saying, ‘Hey, I found these on the golf course.'”
Charlie Hicks touched every person he came in contact with and had the ability to earn the trust of his patients who valued his counsel, Burge said.
“I treasure every moment I had with Charlie,” he said.
Sammy Angel, chairman of the Chicot Memorial Medical Center’s board of directors, recalled being terrified of the very tall doctor on trips to the emergency room for a busted knee, elbow or eye injury when he was younger. “But he was always kind and gentle,” Angel said.
“For the years and time he dedicated to our ER department we felt like this was a tribute for what he had given to us and we just hope we can be a small part of giving back to him because he was here many, many years and he saw many, many people and we certainly appreciate his dedication to our hospital,” Angel said.
After comments from several others in attendance, including Chicot Memorial Hospital CEO Russ Sword and former Mainline Health Systems director Betty Gay Schuler, Sword called Hicks’ widow Beth Hicks to the emergency room entryway where he ripped off a paper covering a dedication wall plaque:
In addition to his emergency room service to Chicot Memorial Medical Center, Hicks practiced medicine in Hamburg, Monticello and Wilmot over his long medical career.
He began his medical practice in Hamburg in 1961. In 1969, he left Hamburg to enter into a partnership with a long time friend in Oklahoma, but missed Arkansas and returned in 1971 to practice medicine in Monticello with Dr. Johnny Price, who incidentally delivered Dr. Hicks when he was born in the old Mack Wilson Hospital on North Main Street in Monticello. In 1980 his long time friend, John William Spivey, asked him to return to Ashley County where he worked in the Hamburg Clinic with Dr. J.D. Rankin. In 1988 he began working with Mainline Healthcare Systems in their Wilmot Clinic. He held positions of Medical Director of Mainline Health Systems and Chief of Staff of Chicot Memorial Medical Center for several years. He continued to care for his patients and work at Mainline until he became ill shortly before his death.
Family members attending the dedication ceremony were Hicks’ widow Beth, son Keith Hicks and his wife and children, and daughter Karen Hicks Withers, of Monticello, and her sons.