New doctor joins Mizell Memorial Hospital

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dr. David Rivera is the newest addition to the Mizell Meorial Hospital team. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Dr. David Rivera is the newest addition to the Mizell Meorial Hospital team. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

A sense of community.

That’s what Opp Mizell Memorial Hospital’s newest addition — Dr. David Rivera — said was what drew him to the city of opportunity.

“Honestly, what knocked me out was the people,” Rivera said. “They have a sense of community. I was interviewing at several places up north, and I remember they told me that we got a place for you to check out.”

Rivera asked where he was being led and Alabama was the destination. He honestly was surprised about the recommendation.

“I was like, ‘What? Are you crazy’?” he said, laughing. “Sometimes there are opinions on all of this stuff.”

Rivera said the first person he met once he arrived in Opp was an eighth grade teacher who was the “guard” at the park.

“I remember he was so friendly,” Rivera said. “He mentioned something that worked on me; it was a sense of working for the community. That was the message I heard in each person I interviewed (talked to).”

Rivera said people from the community were quite welcoming.

“They were so nice because they started inviting me to their churches because I was involved in several places,” he said. “I left (my first visit) with a great impression. The people here were very friendly. They (Mizell Memorial) needed help and told me that I wasn’t going to be a doctor in another big staff. I thought I could make an impact in the community.”

The Puerto Rico native will be practicing family medicine in Opp. Rivera received his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1994, and received his license to practice family medicine in Michigan.

Prior to coming to Opp, Rivera worked with Indian Health Services (IHS). He worked at major hospitals in Puerto Rico, and at cardiovascular centers. Additionally, he’s had experience working as a family practitioner, in admissions, in the intensive care unit and in trauma work.

In addition to family medicine, Rivera said he wants to bring other forms of medicine such as phlebology — a specialty dealing with veins — acupuncture and reiki, a form of Japanese energy transference through the palms for self healing and a state of equilibrium, to his patients.

Rivera said he’ll be aiming to get his acupuncture license from the state soon.

Rivera has been practicing medicine for 21 years, and from an early age, knew he wanted to be a doctor.

“As a child, I was always involved in the caring of other people,” he said, adding that one day he asked his teacher what he could do with his life and it was suggested that he become a doctor.

Rivera said he loves being a doctor.

“Unfortunately, I said I’d marry my profession,” he quipped. “I always say I want a re-vorce, but I always come back to it.”

Rivera works in the Mizell Medical Center offices just down the street from the main hospital.