Jackson Surgical Associates was founded in 1970. The clinic's current physicians are Dr. Dean Currie, Dr. David Villarreal, Dr. David Laird, Dr. Daniel Day and Dr. Garrison Smith.
Through the years, the surgeons at Jackson Surgical Associates have seen many changes in medicine and surgical techniques, but one thing remained constant: They always specialized in providing the best surgical care possible.
Dr. George Dodson, who had been practicing in Jackson for 20 years, opened his own clinic in early 1970, and was joined by Dr. Eddie Crocker, who had been practicing here five years. That August, Dr. Barnett Scott, who had been working at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, joined them. Dr. Tom Edwards was the next to join the group.
The Jackson Surgical Associates clinic stayed on West Forest until growth forced it to move into a bigger building on Physicians Drive in 1991. By that time, Dr. Dodson had already retired in 1983 and Dr. Crocker was planning to retire the next year. Dr. Scott retired in 1999 and Dr. Edwards left in December 2006.
For 35 years, clinic manager Sula Hillhouse worked first with Dr. Dodson and then with his partners. Bill Williamson became the manager when she retired.
From the beginning, the doctors at Jackson Surgical Associates set high standards, said Dr. Crocker. For example, he said, “we felt it was important to have our board certification in surgery.”
They introduced new surgical skills in Jackson. For a number of years, Drs. Crocker and Scott did most of the vascular and thoracic surgery in Jackson until surgeons specializing in those skills moved to town. Dr. Edwards, who joined the group in 1980, was the first to do a laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. Today, this procedure is used in 90 percent of gallbladder surgeries. (The laparoscope allows the physician to perform surgery through tiny incisions in the skin rather than through a major incision, thus helping the patient to have less risk during surgery and a speedier recovery.)
Jackson Surgical doctors also were the first to do a lumpectomy for removing breast cancer, and introduced laparoscopic hernia and appendectomy surgery, video-assisted thoracoscopy for performing certain lung procedures, laparoscopic nissen fundoplication to treat gastroesophageal reflux diseases, and thoracic aortic stent grafting for thoracic aneurysms. Today, Jackson Surgical doctors continue to be on the leading edge of technology with the recent introduction of stereotactic non-invasive breast biopsies and sentinel lymph node biopsies.
These advances, along with better anesthesia and better surgical materials, evolutionized surgery to the benefit of the patient, Dr. Crocker said. At the same time, local hospitals set strict standards in the operating arena, he said. Improved diagnostic equipment help surgeons even more these days.
Through the years, Jackson Surgical physicians also have been leaders in the medical community. Both Dr. Dodson and Dr. Crocker were chief of staff at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital; Dr. Scott was the first president of the West Tennessee Physicians’ Alliance; Dr. Currie, Dr. Crocker, and Dr. Edwards also have been president of the Alliance. Dr. Scott was chief of staff at HCA/Regional Hospital when it moved into is new building on the bypass.
Jackson has been a good place to practice medicine and raise a family, Drs. Scott and Crocker say. “We’ve been blessed as a community not just with good physicians,” Dr. Scott adds, “but also with good hospital facilities.”