Jackson County

Terry Millette says the breakup was personal. SRHS says it did the right thing.

Popular neurologist Terry Millette calls split with SRHS ‘personal’

Popular neurologist, Dr. Terry Millette, talks with the Sun Herald for the first time since he left Singing River. Video by Karen Nelson/Sun Herald klnelson@sunherald.com
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Popular neurologist, Dr. Terry Millette, talks with the Sun Herald for the first time since he left Singing River. Video by Karen Nelson/Sun Herald klnelson@sunherald.com

Dr. Terry Millette, whose abrupt departure from Singing River Health System caused a stir among thousands of his patients last year, granted an interview with the Sun Herald on Friday.

SRHS locked him out of his office in November, more than a month before his 5-year contract was up, and began handling the patients who called him their doctor.

In the wake of the breakup, SRHS set up hotlines and a temporary office staff to handle calls, find alternate doctors and make appointments for hundreds of people, some of them very fragile neurological patients.

The outcry reached the media when people feared they wouldn't be able to get the treatment they needed in a timely manner or would have to travel hours for a neurologist who could treat them. Some went to their county supervisors.

At the center of the split between Millette and SRHS was his belief that multiple sclerosis patients need to be diagnosed and treated early. Millette told the Sun Herald he believes the move by SRHS was "personal."

Millette said international trends are more toward early treatment. He had about 70 MS patients.

A spokesperson for SRHS said the hospital system still contends it did the right thing when it parted with Millette.

SRHS has issued a statement that while Millette is no longer employed by the health system, he retains medical staff privileges at the hospital system with the exception of admitting MS patients.

SRHS spokeswoman Georgia Storey said he may refer neurology patients if he chooses, "the only exception being for multiple sclerosis or other related conditions."

Millete plans on opening a clinic just across the highway from Singing River Hospital.

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