Profession

Arkansas medical board chair recovering from bombing

No arrests have been made, but investigators have identified a "person of interest."

By Susan J. Landers — Posted May 20, 2009

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Trent Pierce, MD, chair of the Arkansas State Medical Board who was badly injured in a Feb. 4 bombing, hopes to return to his solo family practice in July.

The physician lost his left eye, as well as the hearing in his left ear, when an explosive device went off in his driveway. But he has made tremendous progress, said radiologist Scott Ferguson, MD, a longtime friend who has served as the family's spokesman since the incident.

Dr. Pierce was about to leave his West Memphis, Ark., home to attend medical board meetings in Little Rock, when the blast occurred. In searching for possible suspects, police have examined board cases in which Dr. Pierce might have cast a decisive vote. A $50,000 reward, raised by the board with the help of private contributions, is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Authorities have no suspects but have identified a "person of interest," according to Grover Crossland, an agent in charge of the Little Rock office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Crossland said several people are being looked at in connection with the bombing.

After the bombing, Dr. Pierce spent 40 days at the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center in Memphis, Tenn., where he had surgery on his face, skin grafts and other treatments. His right wrist and leg were broken in the blast. After extensive physical therapy, he is now able to walk, mostly unaided, Dr. Ferguson said.

Dr. Pierce is "doing great," Dr. Ferguson said. "On May 1, Trent and his wife, Melissa, hosted a barbecue at their home for the law enforcement people who have worked on the case. Trent was able to stand and greet and talk to everyone."

He still requires a few more surgeries. He needs to have his left eyelid restored and a hole in his right eardrum fixed, Dr. Ferguson said.

His West Memphis practice has continued to function, thanks to more than 30 volunteer physicians working on their days off to help care for patients.

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