Unity Health Harris Medical Center will not be the same without the presence of Dr. Roger Green and his wife Kathy.
Wednesday, December 22, was the last day the Greens practiced medicine in an office setting. After 57 years of general practice in Newport, Dr. Green no longer man’s an office, but his presence will continue for his 75 nursing home patients as Medical Director at St. Michael’s Place.
Dr. Roger Green began his career in Newport working for Dr. Williams at Newport Hospital. The hospital was located in downtown Newport, the current location of the U.S. Post Office. In 1990, Green moved his General Practice to Harris Hospital where it remained until his retirement.
Roger Green grew up in a small town in Missouri. He suffered from childhood asthma. The attention and care he received from his small-town doctors motivated him to pursue medicine. He attended undergraduate, as well as medical school, at the University of Missouri. Medical specialties were unheard of at that time, so he chose general practice. After medical school, Green moved to Memphis, Tennessee for his internship and residency. His decision to move to Memphis close to family would pave the way for his years in Newport, Arkansas.
While at Baptist Hospital in Memphis, Green noticed an advertisement for a weekend position at Newport Hospital. The hospital was owned by Dr. Williams. At the time, Williams and the other Newport Hospital doctor, Dr. Ashley, were wanting time off from the grueling seven-day schedule. Green began covering weekends in Newport when not on schedule in Memphis. “I could not believe how much they were paying me,” states Green. “I actually bought a corvette after working a few weekends in Newport.”
When asked about those beginnings in Newport he laughed and replied that he was the only doctor at the hospital on those weekends. Both Williams and Ashley would leave town and just let him have it. Green took a fulltime position at Newport Hospital in 1964. Soon after, friends and fellow residents Dr. Jerry Frankum and Dr. Carney followed.
Dr. Roger Green is a man devoted to his work at Unity and his faith as a member of Holden Avenue Church of Christ. Although the couple have travelled minimally over the years, they plan to make more trips throughout the United States in the future. “We would like to visit places like Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone,” states Kathy Green. “Roger loved to work, but now we can visit places we never had time to in the past.”
Dr. Green and Kathy have been married for 36 years. Kathy Green graduated from nursing school in 1975. As a registered nurse, and spent most of her career working for Dr. Green.
When asked to reflect on his years in medicine, he says that young doctors do not begin their careers working as hard as his generation. Specialties are now the norm in today’s medicine.
“I probably delivered over 2,000 babies before I was out of medical school,” Roger Green laughs. “The birth control pill had not been invented yet.”
He recalls the decades before health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. “Those three things really changed medicine,” he said.
Although there are no office hours for Dr. Roger and Kathy Green, their devotion to, and positive impact on the community will always be appreciated and remembered. Dr. Green’s grandfather lived to be 106 years old. If genetics ring true, Roger Green will continue to service this community for years to come.