Michael Bennett, Small-Town Doctor Who Pushed for Masks, Dies at 52

This obituary is a part of a collection about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic. Read about 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 of them was Dr. Michael Bennett, who opened his observe, the Greenfield Medical Center, in 2005.

He was a vigorous proponent of carrying masks and of social distancing throughout the coronavirus pandemic, although he confronted resistance to his calls from some townspeople, and he supplied 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 synthetic lung. He died of Covid-19 on March 6, his former spouse, Teresa Bennett, stated. He was 52.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dade County, Mo., the place Greenfield is located, has recorded 715 constructive checks and 31 deaths, many of the fatalities nursing dwelling residents, in line with Pamela Cramer, the administrator of the county well being division. “It’s actually hit us, however not as arduous as different areas,” she stated on Wednesday.

Nationwide, 452,706 well being care employees have examined constructive for the coronavirus, and 1,505 have died as of March 26, in line with the Centers for Disease Control 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 just 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 stated by cellphone. “He was into auto mechanics earlier than that.”

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

In addition to his medical observe, which has been shuttered, Dr. Bennett had a 500-acre farm with beef cattle, and he loved fishing and searching.

“I believe one of many causes his sufferers cherished him is he was a very good outdated boy,” stated Ms. Bennett, who managed her former husband’s observe till 2012, once they divorced.

In addition to 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 intently with Ms. Cramer, the county official, and prompt to her final yr that the city undertake a mask-wearing mandate after a number of Covid-related nursing dwelling deaths. But 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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