Retired Rock Hill pediatrician Hal Anderson loves pediatrics so much that, since retiring from private practice, he has volunteered at the York County Health Department.
"I love kids," said Anderson, who retired from Rock Hill Pediatrics in 2001 after practicing in the community for 33 years. "Kids get well, by and large most of the time. It's a happy specialty."
Anderson was one of two South Carolina physicians recently named Physician of the Year by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for their service to public health. The other is Dr. Richard Ervin of Florence.
Anderson was chosen for the honor for his continued dedication to the children of York County, said Ernie Bell, DHEC Region 3 health director.
"For some people, service stops at retirement, but for a doctor such as Hal Anderson, dedication to service continues well beyond retirement," said Bell in a prepared statement.
Anderson was nominated by registered nurse Arleen Fincher, DHEC's York County health supervisor. "He is so caring and compassionate to the pediatric population in York County," she said. "Dr. Anderson volunteering and doing this service is such an asset for us."
On the first Monday of each month, Anderson sees children at the York County Health Department for baby check-ups and sports physicals. He said he couldn't imagine not practicing medicine, something to which he has dedicated his life.
"I was anxious over retirement, about not using skills and education I had," he said. "I felt I could still contribute to the community and still be retired."
Dr. Robert Goodbar, a pediatrician at Rock Hill Pediatrics, began practicing with Anderson in 1983. Anderson was the pediatrician for Goodbar's children.
"I was impressed with his genuine concern for patients and their families," Goodbar said.
Dee Sutton of Rock Hill said Anderson took care of her daughter, Samantha, from the time she was born until he retired. Samantha, now 18, was a frequent patient for one thing or another, Sutton said.
"He was always kind and very good, even during those trying visits," she said.
Anderson has seen many changes in pediatrics. One change that concerns him is that some parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children.
"I'm old enough, I saw those diseases. Some can be devastating, and some parents don't realize that they can be devastating. I'm all for immunizing," he said.
Another concern, he said, is the role insurance companies and managed care have over patient treatment. He said insurance companies can dictate what physicians do and what procedures and medications patients can receive by what the companies are willing to pay for.
"We are pretty much at their will," he said.
Anderson said some of the biggest advances in pediatrics during his career are the wide range of antibiotics available and the development of pediatric sub-specialties -- such as allergists, neurologists, surgeons and others.
Since retirement, Anderson has remained active at the health department and by volunteering at Pilgrims' Inn, with the Kiwanis' Club Terrific Kids program and in church activities.
Anderson said he finds giving back to the community personally rewarding and is honored to have received Physician of the Year. "It was very special. It means a lot to me." he said.