A trailblazing pediatrician who initially was the only area doctor trained specifically in infant and children’s medical care has added a new clinic in Olive Branch to a growing network of locations.
Dr. Desh (D.D.) Sidhu, MD recently opened the newly-constructed DeSoto Children’s Clinic-Olive Branch at 7145 Goodman Road. A welcome, ribbon cutting and open house for the facility with city and business leaders was held to celebrate the clinic’s opening.
It is the third clinic Sidhu is operating. Another DeSoto Children’s Clinic location is in Southaven and he also operates a clinic in Senatobia, which was the first clinic he started when his practice began in 1978.
Sidhu, who studied in London and then trained in pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School as he began his medical career, was encouraged to set up a practice in North Mississippi at a time when there were no doctors working specifically with children in the area.
“After the training, they interviewed me for a place here,” Sidhu said. “They didn’t have any pediatricians in North Mississippi so I accepted their offer to be the first pediatrician from Whitehaven on south to Grenada, the first one ever. It stayed like that for many years and that’s how we set up the Senatobia Children’s Clinic.”
Sidhu’s coming to Mississippi did come with a prerequisite: approval from his wife.
“My wife didn’t want to come, so I said we should go for a year and if we don’t like it, we can come back,” Sidhu said. “We were here only two months and my wife came back to me and said that this is home. She said she had met the nicest people that she ever met anywhere so I would not have to leave this place because of her.”
As the Senatobia practice was established and grew, Sidhu was invited by Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto to start a clinic near the Southaven facility.
During that time, he started the pediatric/newborn service at the hospital and provided Neonatology coverage for 10 years.
Later, he added a clinic inside Methodist-Olive Branch on the invitation of hospital President David Baytos and a suggestion from his son and clinic administrator Ruben.
“Ruben was the one who thought Olive Branch would be a good place for an office,” Sidhu said. “He investigated that and Mr. Baytos had an office empty out at Methodist-Olive Branch that he would let us use for rent, so we used that and found that more patients were wanting us to be here.”
Space limitations for the growing Olive Branch practice made the clinic look for its own location and its new home is on two lots that Sidhu owned along Goodman Road.
Still the only pediatrician in the area meant Sidhu was on duty for long hours almost every day of the week, but dinner with the family was still a priority for him.
“He would leave his office in Senatobia and would make sure to be home to eat dinner with us,” Ruben said. “As soon as that was done, his phone would be ringing because he had to be at Baptist. Half the time I would go with him because I wanted to.”
Today, the Hernando resident has a total of nine providers and 41 employees assisting him among the three offices.
Sidhu calls his work in pediatrics “a calling.”
“Even in medical school I knew I was going to be a pediatrician with my desire to serve the children. Sometimes you can’t define why you are called but you knew that was your calling. I went into surgery for a year to round out my medical training and then I went into pediatrics. I was just called to serve.”
Sidhu calls the clinic a general pediatrics practice with all of the providers bringing a certain area that they are either passionate about or have a specialization in.
But, he adds the goal remains the same for all of them.
“We will provide the best possible care,” Sidhu said. “If we are not able to provide the absolute best available anywhere, we have absolutely no business looking after this child.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.