Wheeler Pulliam poses with the full-page advertisement he purchased to thank the staff at Highland Community Hospital.
Hattiesburg, MS (April 13, 2021) – Wheeler Pulliam, a Picayune resident, is not one to mince words. When he wants people to know something, he’ll gladly share his thoughts. That’s what he did on March 13 when he paid a pretty penny for a full-page ad in The Picayune Item. The full-color ad thanked the staff at Highland Community Hospital — doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, technicians, janitors, cooks, administration and all other personnel — for the excellent care they provided for him.
Pulliam, a recent patient at two Forrest Health facilities – Highland Community Hospital in Picayune and Forrest General in Hattiesburg – wanted people to know about the care he received while a patient at Highland, where he spent the bulk of his time.
Admitted to HCH with a high fever, Pulliam spent two weeks at the south Mississippi hospital fighting COVID-19. Just as he was about to be discharged, he developed blood clots in his lungs and had to extend his stay for another week before heading home. After eight days at home, Pulliam’s Home Health nurse noted an elevated heartbeat. Because HCH doesn’t have 24/7 cardiac care, he was transported to Hattiesburg to be taken care of by a cardiac care team at Forrest General, where he stayed for four days. The end diagnosis was a heart attack, one of the side effects of COVID-19, he was told.
Pulliam is now back at home and on the mend and just as spry as ever. “I think I’m still here because of the care I received,” he said. He’s doing so well that Home Health has also released him from their care.
“When I was in the hospital at Highland, the care was so good,” he said. “I’ve been there for outpatient surgery and other things, and I’ve always had good results with the hospital and everybody in it. The people there are so attentive, even in the dead of night when they came in to take blood. They were just real good about it.”
Pulliam said the catalyst for placing the ad in the newspaper was because he had grown tired of hearing people continue to refer to the hospital by its former name, Crosby. “I told everybody that Crosby was “plowed ground,” he said. “It hasn’t been here since 2013. In fact, it was gone when I moved here in July (2013). I just got to thinking, ‘I’m going to put a full page ad in that paper.’” He said the ad also pops up on cell phones and will appear in a magazine the newspaper published.
After the ad was published, Pulliam said he ran into people who commented about the advertisement and thought it was great. “I told people I was just tired of hearing Crosby,” he said. “Every time somebody said, ‘Crosby,’ I’d say, ‘Where do you see Crosby written across that building?’”
“I love the people who were in there (hospital) working on and with me,” Pulliam said. “And I figured they needed somebody to say, ‘Hey, you did a good job.’ And talk is cheap, but if you go and put a big full page ad, in color, in the paper, then you’re doing more than talking.” The week after the ad was published, Pulliam went to the newspaper office and picked up about 30 pounds of papers to carry by the hospital for anybody who wanted to pick one up. “I haven’t met anybody in the hospital, yet, that I didn’t like,” he said.
Pulliam said he has lived all over and in places like Charlotte, N.C., and Birmingham, Ala., which are home to some pretty big hospitals. “I’ve been in some mighty big, good hospitals to have work done. I’ve been in Charlotte N.C., St. Vincent in Birmingham, and NMMC in Tupelo, but I would put the care I received at Highland up against any of the ones I’ve been in. They did a good job.3