Pride of Pine Belt: Hattiesburg cardiologist, Thad Waites - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Pride of Pine Belt: Hattiesburg cardiologist, Thad Waites

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Growing up Thad Waites felt he had a tough act to follow, his older brother. 

"Well he was a saint, and he also was my hero, " said Waites.

Not to mention his brother held the affluent position of a doctor.

"He was a physician in Laurel for quite a number of years, but even before that he was the captain of the football team when I was a little kid, then he was president of USM Alumni Association when I was in high school. So, he was certainly an idol and hero to me," said Waites.

According to Waites,  people naturally thought he would follow the same path of medicine.

"Just the opposite. I thought, 'I'm not going to be compared to my brother that would be a tough comparison.' So, I tried to do my own track, " said Waites.

Call it fate, but while Waites pursued Humanities in college his attention slowly turned to medicine.

"I'm very glad that I did choose this profession, especially Cardiology,"said Waites.

As the Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Forrest General, Waites is a heart expert.

"With my field which is Interventional Cardiology, we can take a heart attack and stop it in its tracks, immediately put in a stint, and the patient immediately feels better," said Waites.

Having said that, he still has to fight the number one killer.

"Heart disease is still the number one killer out there. So, we are constantly trying to improve. In the last decade we have dropped the mortality rate by about 30 percent," said Waites.

By we, Waites means all health care providers especially those on the American College of Cardiology Board, which he serves on the board of trustees.

"Sometimes they say the most obese state is Mississippi, and they look at me, and sometimes kind of laugh. The highest stroke rate is Mississippi and there I am, the highest blood pressure rate, the highest so many things is our state of Mississippi," said Waites.

The stats only make Waites more determined. He is even known for his history of advocacy for improving the health of Mississippians, which is why he was formally recognized, during this year's legislative session with a resolution written by Senator Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall.

"A proclamation from the state senate. There is one coming from the state house, as well as from the governor for my work with the American College of Cardiology and with the state health board," said Waites.

Waites has been making a difference in cardiology since 1980 and has no plans to retire.

"I'm just enjoying the heck out of it. I'd love to do it some time to come," said Waites.

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