Holifield was key to hospital’s success

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 23, 2004


A pioneer in hip surgery and a well-respected local physician has died after almost a half-century of caring for the sick in Marengo County.


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Reese Holifield, 78, died Wednesday at Birmingham’s Brookwood Medical Center, from complications following heart bypass surgery.

“He’s probably one of a handful of people who’ve kept this hospital viable,” said Mike Marshall, chief executive officer at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

“He was universally known and respected not only here but around the state and was as responsible as any one person for the success of the hospital over the years and it’s being open to serve this community.”

Holifield joined the hospital’s

staff on Sept. 27, 1956, practicing medicine for the next 48 years.

A 1955 graduate of the University of Alabama – Birmingham, Holifield served a one-year internship Caraway Methodist Hospital before coming to Demopolis.

Over the course of his practice, Holifield delivered about 5,000 babies, and performed more than 20,000 surgical procedures at Demopolis’ hospital, Marshall said.

“He was instrumental in establishing the ICU as well as introducing many surgical procedures including arthroplasty of hip, knee and ankle, plastic surgery and laparoscopic cholecystectomy,” Marshall said.

While he established many procedures in Demopolis, Holifield’s indelible mark was left in is skill in hip replacements, many say.

Funeral arrangements were still incomplete at press time.