By Martha Underwood

Killeen Daily Herald

With the Metroplex Hospital Emergency Department growing swiftly, hospital officials hired a new emergency medical director to prepare for the future.

Dr. Stephen Ellison will oversee all medical care in the Emergency Department and be a physician leader, said Kenneth Finch, Metroplexs chief executive officer.

With Dr. Ellisons experience and great leadership capabilities, we felt this was a great fit for our emergency room.

Ellison, 42, recently retired from the U.S. Army at Fort Hood, where he served with the 36th Medivac Battalion. With the 507th Medical Company air ambulance, his unit was the first medical group to reach Baghdad in the initial phase of the war in Iraq.

He also had combat experience as an airborne ranger, when he parachuted into Panama with the 1st Airborne Ranger Batallion in Operation Just Cause.

After medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Ellison received his emergency medicine residency at Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall, the big Level I trauma centers in San Antonio. Ellison was stationed at Darnall Army Community Hospital on Fort Hood early in his military career, and returned to the 4th Infantry Division for his last tour.

We wanted to stay in this area, Ellison said. He will continue to live in Lampasas.

Metroplex Hospital had been interviewing out-of-state candidates for the ER medical director position for more than a year, Finch said. It was great to find Dr. Ellison in our own back yard when he was leaving the Army, Finch said. He reflects our philosophy of care and concern for people, as well as high quality medical care.

I left the service to spend more time with my family, Ellison said.

He and his wife, Marta, have two children: a daughter Michaela, 8, and a son Jonathan, 6, who are involved in Scouts and soccer this year. They are very busy and I wanted to be here for that, Ellison said.

If the Emergency Room continues operating at the same pace, the hospital will see 42,000 ER visits this year, Ellison said. Metroplex is quickly going from a medium to a large hospital, he said. It is growing by leaps and bounds.

Ellison will help the Emergency Department prepare for the future, administratively and medically. There is the possibility of adding a little more space in the near future, as well as long-term planning for new construction to accommodate the accelerated growth.

I have a soft spot for the military. I understand what they are going through, their family hardships and shortages and stretching of resources at Fort Hood, Ellison said. He said his task is to assist Metroplex in growing and handling the unique challenges of emergency medicine in this area.

Ellison also relates to the spiritual side of Metroplex. Especially in emergency medicine, you need a deep faith in God, said Ellison, who has been with people at the end of their lives.

Though he does not force his faith on others, he said, there is no way to study the marvels of the human body and not believe in a supreme being who does all. Whether parachuting into combat or delivering a baby, there are wonders in this life, he said. There is not a doubt about my faith.

Contact Martha Underwood at

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