Memorial Satilla Health is pleased to welcome Dr. Wael Azer, DO, as the Medical Director of the Emergency Department here. As the medical director, he will play a vital role in ensuring patients in our community receive high-quality care when they make a visit to the emergency department.

"The role of emergency department medical director has a direct impact on the care and treatment our patients receive when they come through the ER, and we are excited to welcome Dr. Azer into our community and hospital," said Bobby McCullough, Memorial Satilla Health CEO. "The volume of admissions we get from our emergency room makes it the front door of the hospital for most of our patients, and his unique experience as both a physician, nurse and technician makes him the perfect person to provide our community with the care they deserve."

Originally from Cairo, Egypt, Dr. Azer first obtained an MD in 1997. After moving to the United States in 2000, had to restart his medical career as a Telemetry Technician in 2002. He then went on to obtain his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's School of Nursing. While working as a nurse from 2006-2009, he also put himself through medical school at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, with a residency at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

After completing his residency, he began working in emergency medicine at a health system in Albany Ga. Before coming to Memorial Satilla Health.

"It has been a long road, but caring for people is what I always wanted to do, and my experience working in various parts of the medical field has opened a lot of doors for me and helped me think globally about the care I provide. I understand that nurses are the backbone of care that we provide, because I have seen and experienced that first touch they have with patients," Dr. Azer said.

While his interest in the medical field was always present, the death of a family member from misdiagnosis of diabetes helped motivate him down that path. Driven by the urge to help and prevent people from dying from something that was preventable, he said the amount of schooling he endured, both in Egypt and the United States, helped make him a more well-rounded physician.

"It gave me a greater appreciation for the personal connection that nurses form with the patients, and I try to keep that in mind. Nurse's priorities are different from physicians, and that whole-person mentality has helped me improve my bedside manner and how I interact with patients and nurses," said Dr. Azer.

As the lead physician in the emergency department, this appreciation for the nurse role will not only help build a more cohesive unit, but also further improve the care provided to patients. This prospect of improving the quality of care is what Dr. Azer is most excited for.

"Our ER here is great, but we want to be better, and to do that we need to grow our team and put an emphasis on quality and dedication from all team members. I am excited for the challenge to make our quality of care even better and grow make the community eager to come here when they need us," Dr. Azer said. "Operationally, we need to be a cohesive team and we need to treat the patients like they are family. If we can build this culture of treating patients like they are our family, our mothers, our fathers, brothers and sisters, we can make this ER a department that people are comfortable coming to for care."