Hospital CEO reports for duty, awaits family

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 3, 2008

FRANKLIN—Until school lets out the new chief executive officer at Southampton Memorial Hospital is going to be living the bachelor’s life.

David Fuller started work on Tuesday, having driven here from Alabama, but his wife and four sons — Jonathan, Benjamin, Jordan and Tyler — remained behind, particularly his youngest, 13-year-old Tyler, a seventh-grader, will who finish out the year in his current school.

But Fuller’s trying to take the short-term change in lifestyle in stride.

&uot;I’m taking it like the good Lord gave it to me,&uot; Fuller said. &uot;One day at a time. Not that I have any choice.&uot;

The Fullers’ three oldest sons, ironically, have found their way into medical fields.

Their mother, Cecilia, was an elementary school major who taught before the boys came along. Now, Fuller said, &uot;She’s a full-time stay-at-home mom and referee&uot; of the four boys.

But, Fuller said, she’s capable of handling the discipline. She’s the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher.

A part of Fuller’s business style, he said, was developed from his father’s style running a restaurant, greeting his regular customers by name.

Much of Fuller’s youth was spent in the Deep South, having been born in a town between Jackson, Miss., and the Gulf Coast.

When it was time to strike out on his own, Fuller received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Mississippi College.

Even then, he said, he knew what career path he wanted to take.

&uot;I’m a strange bird, in that regard,&uot; he said. &uot;When I was in college I knew I wanted to be in the health care business.&uot;

Most recently, Fuller was chief executive officer at Woodland Medical Center in Cullman, Ala., for the past three years. Woodland was owned by Community Health Systems Inc., parent company of Southampton Memorial, until recently.

Woodland was sold to Capella Healthcare Inc. as part of a $315 million deal involving nine hospitals, but Fuller was able to stay with CHS. He’s been with the company for nine years.