SPRINGFIELD – Mercy Health – Springfield has issued a congratulatory announcement to obstetrician and gynecologist David Billing, MD on his retirement.
After 43 years of caring for patients and delivering more than 10,000 babies by his estimate, Dr. Billing is retiring this year.
Thanks to an inspirational high school teacher, Dr. Billing always liked science. However, it was when his father was dying of cancer that Dr. Billing decided to go into medicine.
“I saw the care my dad received and liked his physician, Dr. Thomas Hunter, who mentored me in high school,” recalls Dr. Billing.
During his summer externship at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Billing experienced the world of the obstetrician for the first time.
“I enjoyed the obstetrics rotation. I was allowed to do a lot of procedures and deliveries. It’s an almost always happy field of medicine and it’s very rewarding. It led me to do my residency at this teaching hospital,” he said.
Over time, Dr. Billing grew to appreciate the specialty even more for the opportunity it gave him to establish long-term relationships with his patients.
“I’ve been taking care of people for more than 40 years! I’m almost part of the family,” notes Dr. Billing, who has delivered the third generation of babies in some families and is regularly stopped by his “babies,” now adults, when he’s out and about.
“That’s part of the fun of it,” he acknowledges.
Even the hard cases can bring their rewards.
Dr. Billing recalls a post-mortem delivery in the emergency room that saved the baby’s life.
“One day in the office many years ago, I got a call from the front desk that there was a lady here to see me. It was that girl that I delivered. She was doing well and she wanted to thank me. I got very emotional about it,” he says.
Over the course of his career, it probably comes as no surprise that Dr. Billing has seen many changes, some for the better.
“Probably the biggest advancement is ultrasound,” he says. “When I came to Springfield, we didn’t yet have it. It’s now so far advanced, that we can diagnose conditions prenatally and act accordingly. Another advance is the specialty of neonatology. When I first started practicing, babies born at 32 weeks barely survived and now they can survive at 26 and 27 weeks.”
Throughout his time in practice, Dr. Billing has always given back. He would spend a month at a time in a hospital for women and children in Mali, Africa, the fourth poorest country in the world, providing care alongside his son-in-law, OB/GYN Daniel Nesselroade, MD. He also spearheaded the donation of hospital equipment and materials from two hospitals that closed in Springfield to the hospital in Mali.
“The patients were so grateful, gracious and appreciative, I found the work there very rewarding. The equipment helped the staff do better by the patients,” says Dr. Billing.
He also volunteered regularly to serve on various hospital committees, including serving as chair of the OB Department and the first chair of the quality assurance committee at what is now Springfield Regional Medical Center. He also served on the following committee: hospital ethics, credentials and medical executive.
“It felt like in addition to benefiting from practicing medicine, I also had to give something to the hospitals in the community,” he says.
And that’s not likely to change in retirement. In addition to spending time with Vangie, his wife of 53 years, and three adult children, Dr. Billing will always be a caregiver at heart.
“I will miss my patients and colleagues desperately,” he says. “I am going to stick around and do volunteer work someplace and possibly serve in a free clinic.”
Information from Mercy Health – Springfield, a part of Bon Secours Mercy Health.