Local Physician Produces Textbook

Dr. Okechukwu Ekenna, local Infectious Diseases Specialist, has always had a great passion for his craft. Now, he has written and published an excellent book covering the subject, entitled Cases in Clinical Infectious Disease Practice.

Dr. Ekenna was born and raised in Nigeria. He completed medical school in Germany, and eventually came to the United States to study infectious diseases. He became a member of the Singing River Health System Medical Staff in 1994, and has been an important part of the Jackson County medical community ever since.

The career path Dr. Ekenna chose turned out to be a perfect fit.

“Infectious diseases, as a specialty, reflects an area of medicine that by nature keeps in touch with all branches of medicine,” he explained. “It is a specialty in which it is not too difficult to see tangible results, and to identify the cause of an illness. It is also a classic specialty of medicine, age-old, ancient, but modern as well, with new diseases always evolving. It’s a specialty you can practice anywhere in the world. Most importantly, infectious diseases have impact beyond the single patient, with implications for the wider public and community.”

Over the years, Dr. Ekenna has taken his charge to heart, helping countless individuals throughout the local area (and elsewhere) overcome serious medical issues. He’s plenty busy with his patient load. Why write a book?

“I saw a need to address an essential aspect of medicine, especially infectious diseases: the importance of obtaining a good history from the patient, as a cornerstone to reaching an accurate clinical diagnosis,” said Dr. Ekenna. “This is an area that has often been neglected, and not appropriately remunerated. I also thought there was a wealth of information in the cases that I had seen over the years that needed to be shared with others.”

Cases in Clinical Infectious Disease Practice essentially addresses what the infectious diseases (ID) consultant does and how he or she does it. It explains in clear terms, with multiple case presentations covering vast areas of infectious diseases, the thinking of the ID consultant, in a way that is easy to follow for the typical practitioner in medicine or allied health care professional.

“I believe the simple, direct patient stories will be of value to study,” said Dr. Ekenna. “We cover deductive knowledge that, combined with tests and analyses, can lead to the proper clinical diagnosis. The most important lesson I have tried to impart is one that all of us as physicians should heed: listen to your patients.”

So, as his decorated and fulfilling career continues, how does Dr. Ekenna feel about completing this long and arduous project of bringing his book to fruition?

“Writing this book was a fascinating journey that started more than five years ago,” said Dr. Ekenna. “In the process I learned a lot: what was required to put an idea to paper, in ways that both professionals and non-professionals can understand and appreciate. I encountered the hard work of tracking and contacting patients for their permission to use data, dealing with copyright issues, and all the other technical issues needed to get to publication. In the end, it was a very enriching journey. It is also not likely the end of my writing journey, as I have now ‘eaten of the apple’, or, as they say, ‘been bitten by the bug’.”

Dr. Ekenna and his wife, Dr. Chiazo Nnawuchi-Ekenna, live in Ocean Springs with their son. Cases in Clinical Infectious Disease Practice (272 pp.) may be obtained at Wiley or Amazon, and Dr. Ekenna can be contacted at [email protected].