Three Generations of Doctors Hood at Morton Plant Hospital
By Renee Burrell
Dr David Hood (left) and his father, Dr. John (Sudler) Hood (right) hold a portrait of the first Hood to settle in Clearwater and practice at Morton Plant Hospital, pediatrician Dr. Jennings Sudler Hood who came here from Philadelphia in 1936
Three doctors from the same family have followed a career path leading to the medical profession and practicing their specialties in Clearwater at Morton Plant Hospital. Our community has been being treated by a doctor from the Hood family since 1936 when Dr. Jennings Sudler Hood, deceased, moved here from Philadelphia, PA with a pediatrics degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After being diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease and told to relocate to a warm climate, he picked Clearwater, where in addition to treating children, he was a member of Rotary International, and a ruling elder of Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church. Doctor Jennings Sudler Hood was also instrumental in establishing the Pinellas County Health Department.
His grandson, Dr. David Hood, now affiliated with Morton Plant/Mease Healthcare System, explained further his family's connection to Clearwater. "When grandfather moved here the Clearwater census was about 10,000. What is special to me is the fact that the family has remained in town to provide a basic service to the community. The generations have watched Clearwater grow exponentially but the same desire to care for patients remains paramount… My father was exposed to the physician life at an early age as my grandfather would take him along on house calls. Similarly, my father took me on rounds as a young child and I respected the simple act of caring for another person without the expectation of gaining something in return. I chose my specialty because it spans all age groups and gender, and combines the art of medicine with the skill of surgery."
The middle generation Hood, Dr. John Sudler Hood and David's father, now retired, was born and raised here. He received his medical degree from Columbia University, and performed his residency at the Lahey Clinic in Boston for orthopedics. He achieved certification as a Master Gardner and Master Naturalist through the University of Florida.
At present, he is enjoying his participation in volunteer activities and has undertaken multiple projects working as an environmental activist.
Said Dr. David Hood, "My dad trained as an engineer and always enjoyed the mechanical and technical aspect of reassembling and reconstructing damaged parts. He also states that a majority of his patients were pretty healthy and thus he could focus his attention on their orthopedic problems."
As for the current practicing Dr. Hood, his education took him west. After receiving his MD from the University of South Florida, he completed his residency in Otolaryngology (ENT) in San Antonio at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Like his father, he returned to Clearwater.
"After living elsewhere we both concluded that the Clearwater area is one of the most beautiful in the state of Florida. Also, being close to friends and family gives it an added charm," said Dr. David Hood.
He added that all three generations were also in agreement that, "Life is precious when you have experienced how suddenly a patient can become ill and pass away despite all measures undertaken to save them."
One couldn't profile the Hood men without noting the Hood ladies and their accomplishments. The first generation, Grandmother Katherine Hood, served for 25 years as a volunteer for the Morton Plant Hospital Auxiliary. She also chaired the Red Cross Home Nursing during World War II and trained the first class of "Pink Angels" later known as "Candy Stripers" and now known as the "Teenage Volunteers".
Dr. John Sudler Hood's wife and David's mother, Lindsay Hood, is a registered nurse and holds a Masters in Counseling. She also achieved a Florida Master Naturalist degree. Dr. David Hood says his mother is a, "Indefatigable volunteer for Pinellas county parks, namely Weedon Island and Brooker Creek."
It would be interesting to hear what the first Dr Hood would think of the advances the digital age has brought to medicine. "I wish I could ask Grandfather," said Dr. David Hood. "My dad and I both agree that advances in imaging and medical equipment combine to make previous impossible surgeries possible and to perform more and more procedures with minimal invasiveness."
The Hood's profession, home town and Morton Plant Hospital have grown considerably since the first Dr. Hood came to Clearwater. Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is now comprised of Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey. The hospitals of Morton Plant Mease Health Care are part of the first group of hospitals nationally to have earned re-certification of the Gold Seal of Approval for stroke care from the Joint Commission.
In May 2005 Mease Dunedin was recognized as an industry leader in congestive heart care when it received the Premier Award for Quality from Premier Healthcare Informatics, a national alliance of not-for-profit hospitals and health care systems. In 2003, the hospital was awarded Magnet Designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care.
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