In these trying economic times, the need for good, local health care is important.  However, many in the community have been left bereft of care with the retirement of Dr. Robert Dagget.  In case you were not aware, Dr. Dagget was the one and only singular solitary rheumatologist in the entire city of Meridian.  There have been efforts to bring in another, but so far they have, obviously, failed.

I am aware that there are other places in the state with rheumatologists, but with gas prices, and traffic the way they are, driving there is both an expensive and a risky proposition.  Flowood, Jackson, and Hattiesburg are the closest options, and they are all well over an hour away.

One has to remember that most people with Rheumatoid Arthritis are Senior Citizens, are on a limited income, and have a limited ability to drive.  In addition, due to the ravages of the disease, many with Rheumatoid Arthritis have difficulty walking.

This was why they preferred to see Doctor Dagget, rather than go somewhere else.

One has to wonder what the local hospitals are doing about replacing Doctor Dagget.  Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center has tried, and failed to bring in a new rheumatologist, and any hospital that is successful would be catering to the needs of the senior population of Meridian.

A Senior population that, with Meridian's status as a designated retirement city, will only get larger as time passes.

So, perhaps, it would be in the best interests of every Hospital in Meridian to see if they can acquire the services of a qualified rheumatologist, as soon as possible.

The population of Meridian with Rheumatoid Arthritis would be most grateful.


Jennifer Cleckley


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