Michael Bennett, Small-City Physician Who Pushed for Masks, Dies at 52

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This obituary is a part of a collection about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic. Examine others right here.

For the previous 15 years, there have been solely two household physicians in Greenfield, Mo., a city with 1,371 residents about 40 miles northwest of Springfield. One in all them was Dr. Michael Bennett, who opened his apply, the Greenfield Medical Heart, in 2005.

He was a vigorous proponent of carrying masks and of social distancing through the coronavirus pandemic, although he confronted resistance to his calls from some townspeople, and he provided free Covid-19 testing to his sufferers with funding assist from the federal C.A.R.E.S. Act.

Dr. Bennet took precautions in treating contaminated sufferers however however examined constructive for the coronavirus in late December. He was quickly hospitalized in St. Louis and spent 50 days related to a ventilator and an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a machine that acts as a man-made lung. He died of Covid-19 on March 6, his former spouse, Teresa Bennett, mentioned. He was 52.

For the reason that begin of the pandemic, Dade County, Mo., the place Greenfield is located, has recorded 715 constructive exams and 31 deaths, many of the fatalities nursing dwelling residents, in response to Pamela Cramer, the administrator of the county well being division. “It’s actually hit us, however not as arduous as different areas,” she mentioned on Wednesday.

Nationwide, 452,706 well being care staff have examined constructive for the coronavirus, and 1,505 have died as of March 26, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Michael Keith Bennett was born on Feb. 15, 1969, in New London, Mo., within the northeast a part of the state. His father, Bob, was a farmer; his mom, Meredith (Arnold) Bennett, most lately helped handle her son’s clinic.

A head harm from a automobile accident when he was in highschool modified Dr. Bennett’s profession path.

“He was harm fairly badly, and through that keep within the hospital he determined he needed to be a physician,” Ms. Bennett mentioned by telephone. “He was into auto mechanics earlier than that.”

After incomes a bachelor’s diploma in biology from the College of Missouri in Columbia, he obtained his medical diploma from its medical faculty. And after ending his residency at Cox Medical Heart South in Springfield, he labored at St John’s Hospital in close by Willard, Mo.

Along with his medical apply, which has been shuttered, Dr. Bennett had a 500-acre farm with beef cattle, and he loved fishing and looking.

“I feel one of many causes his sufferers liked him is he was an excellent previous boy,” mentioned Ms. Bennett, who managed her former husband’s apply till 2012, once they divorced.

Along with his dad and mom, he’s survived by his son, Austin; his daughter, Shelby Bennett; his sister, Veronica Bennett; his brother, Damon; and his girlfriend, Haley Hendrixson.

Dr. Bennett labored carefully with Ms. Cramer, the county official, and instructed to her final yr that the city undertake a mask-wearing mandate after a number of Covid-related nursing dwelling deaths. However the concept didn’t advance.

After studying that Dr. Bennett had examined constructive for Covid-19, Ms. Cramer tried to remain involved. In his remaining textual content to her from the hospital, on Jan. 8, he wrote: “I’m hanging in there. Will keep in contact.”

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