There's a new doctor in the house

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Nunnelley takes on occupational medicine clinic at CCMH

By Jeff Moore

Workers who sustain injuries on the job will find a new face at Carroll County Memorial Hospital ready to assist them with their recovery.

Dr. Sherrell Nunnelley assumed his full-time role as medical director of occupational medicine two weeks ago, but he has been working at CCMH a couple of days each week for the past two months.

“For the past 20 years, I have been taking care of all kinds of injuries,” Nunnelley said.

He said he worked in the emergency room at St. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital in Louisville for 13 years before running an occupational medicine clinic for 22 years. Nunnelley left that clinic to start an occupational medicine clinic for Norton Healthcare. But that effort was hampered by the bad turn in the economy, so he found himself also working at an immediate care center on Dixie Highway when he learned of the CCMH opportunity.

“A friend of mine, Dr. David Miller, who lives here in Carrollton had mentioned that he has spoken with (hospital administrator Kanute) Rarey and said they were looking for someone,” Nunnelley said, so he gave Rarey a call. Over the next couple of months, he said he worked with Rarey, and they came to a solution to their problems that brought Nunnelley on board.

“I thought, for me, it was a great opportunity that I would have the ability to again run a clinic, just do occupational medicine,” Nunnelley said. “And since I’ve been up here, I am very excited about all the possibilities just with the people I’ve already met.”

Board certified in occupational medicine for 12 years, Nunnelley said he is looking forward to following the course set by his predecessor.

“Dr. Dennis Connard, who is a good friend of mine, did an excellent job of building this clinic,” he said. “I’m going to try to follow in his footsteps and try to increase the growth of the clinic.”

Nunnelley said he’s going to be in contact with Connard on a regular basis on subjects where he is an authority, such as hydrochloric acid.

Occupational medicine is a lot like the emergency room, he explained, because it deals with a lot of injuries. “The only thing different is that most of the people that I see are well…they’re not sick, they’ve just been injured.”

His role is more than just dealing with workers who have been injured on the job, he said. The occupational medicine clinic also conducts pre-placement drug testing, pre-placement exams, return to work exams, fitness for duty exams, Department of Transportation exams and any kind of testing for pulmonary function, EKGs, chest X-rays and blood testing for local companies.
“And then after that, we take care of any kind of injury, unless something has been amputated,” Nunnelley said.

In addition to working with local industry, Nunnelley also serves as medical director for emergency services at Kentucky Speedway and for EMS in Carroll and Switzerland counties.

“I mainly coordinate the issues between our hospital and the speedway, as far as making sure that if a driver needs something that we can take care of it at this hospital or if it’s more advanced at which hospital it will go to.”

In this role, he must also receive training in acute life support, acute pediatic life support and acute trauma life support training. “I am getting up to speed on those. I (got) my pediatic part a couple of weeks ago, my ACLS next week and then I can’t get my ATLS until October or November,” he said.

He just recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for training to review drug testing, Nunnelly noted.

“It still basically breaks down to simple things like sprains, strains and lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye, chemical inhalations,” he said.

His path to CCMH began when he was in elementary school.

Nunnelley said he knew he wanted to be a doctor when he was in fifth grade. By sixth grade, he had decided he wanted to go into obstetrics and gynecology.

“All through high school, college and medical school, I wanted to be an OB/GYN doctor. And then eventually went into OB/GYN residency and I realized it really wasn’t for me, but I had been moonlighting in the emergency room and I found that’s where I really enjoyed being.”

But after 13 years in the ER, he said he had the opportunity to moonlight on the side in a small occupational medicine clinic that wasn’t doing very well.

“After I started doing it, I realized I kind of had a feel for doing it. I liked it so much that I started doing it full time, and I built the clinic up to where it was the largest in Louisville, at that time,” Nunnelley said.

As part of this move to CCMH, he said he also brought his clinic manager , Candice Harsgesheimer, with him to Carrollton. He also offered his thanks to nurse practitioner Jennifer Wright for staying on at CCMH an extra month as he came on board.

Nunnelly lives in Louisville with his wife, five dogs and a cat in the middle of the Jefferson Memorial Forest.

He uses the daily travel time to listen to tapes that further his training on programs that offer him continuing educational credits.

But local folks can expect to see him around town.

“They may see me out walking during lunch, because I like to walk,” Nunnelley said. He said his two hobbies are his exercise and spending time with his wife.

“The people so far have been exceptionally nice,” he said.

For more information on the occupational medicine clinic at CCMH, call Nunnelley at (502) 732-3221 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.