Greatest reward for ER doctor? When patients do well

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2008 Healthcare Hero
Honorable Mention
Dennis T. Mullaney, MD

An emergency room physician at A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital in Fulton, it's all in the family for Mullaney.

Aside from raising his five children with wife Dr. Darla R. Mullaney, Dennis Mullaney has demonstrated the importance of quality care. "Dr. Mullaney has worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week trying to help keep the hospital open," Tina Finlayson of Lee Memorial Hospital said. "He has spent all waking hours putting full effort into speaking with politicians, lawyers, and other healthcare providers to keep our community safe and in keeping the hospital going as an emergency room."

The state has ordered Lee Memorial to shut down its emergency room and in-patient services and convert to an urgent care center. "There are not enough providers. People aren't coming in, they're leaving," Mullaney said. "The lack of resources and the loss of infrastructure are frustrating to me as a physician, but it is devastating for families. Physicians need hospitals for practice and there is a national shortage of physicians. This problem takes time and money to fix," Mullaney said.

Mullaney said the respect and friendship of his colleagues, and his family, are his most significant accomplishments. "The most rewarding thing to me in working in this profession is when a patient has a good outcome and they survive," Mullaney said.

"Dr. Mullaney has taken the extra mile where no one else has," Finlayson said. "Many patients will call the ER to find out if he is working before they come in."

"You have to be able to enjoy the variety and the stress of working in an E.R.," Mullaney said.

Born in Schenectady, Mullaney completed all of his medical education and training in South Carolina. He is preceptor for physician assistant students from Le Moyne College, and nurse practitioner students from the SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Nursing. He has been working as the emergency department director at Lee Memorial since 2004.