June 28, 2017

Dear Patients,

It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing the closing of my practice in Texarkana scheduled for August 1, 2017. I will no longer be available to care for patients after that time. It has been a great pleasure to provide for your health care needs over the years. It is not easy for me to give it up.

This change comes on suddenly as a result of my family moving to Tyler, TX. As some of you know, my wife has been working in Tyler for over a year now. She spends about 12 to 14 days a month there, splitting her time between Tyler and our home in Texarkana.

I have underestimated the difficulty of our current living arrangement on our daughters and my wife. I feel that if it best for my family life that I accept this transition in my career for the unity of my family. We made the decision to look for homes in Tyler in early June and on June 24 completed a contract on a home in Tyler.

I wish I could have made this transition occur over a longer period of time but as above, I feel that it is best for my family that we move together under one roof at this time.

To the majority of my patients that are LapBand patients, this transition is especially difficult for me. I have chosen to focus on LapBand surgery over the past decade as compared with other types of weight loss surgery or general surgery procedures.

This is in large part because of the long-term continuous followup entailed by LapBand surgery and the pleasure in that long term followup with you. I have seen some of you dozens of times over the years, and I am saddened to be losing that connection.

At the time of the writing of this letter, I don't have a practice location which would allow me to follow up with my current and past patients.

For general surgery patients, Dr. Mark Sutherland, is potentially available for followup as per his availability. He is also potentially available for LapBand unfills, and surgical LapBand removals, but not ongoing bariatric followup.

Dr. Mark Sutherland
2717 Summerhill Road
Texarkana, TX 75503

For weight loss surgery patients seeking followup I have personally communicated with the following experienced bariatric surgeons and a physician assistant and they have indicated a willingness to see my current bariatric patients:
In alphabetical order:

Dr. Hugh Babineau
1100 E Lake St
Tyler, TX 75701

Dr. Adam Smith
2501 Parkview Drive
Suite 560
Fort Worth, TX 76102
(Dr. Smith reports he will waive his customary transfer fee for my patients.)

Dr. Robert Snow
1717 Percent Line Road
Hurst, TX

Debra Tooker, PA
1102 Crestwood Circle
Mena, AR 71953
(Debra Tooker is a physician assistant who has been treating LapBand patients with fills and unfills for years. She is not affiliated with any surgeons and will refer out for potential surgical issues.)

Dr. Mark Watson
UT Southwestern Medical Center

5223 Harry Hines Boulevard 
Dallas, TX 75390

For those LapBand patients not served well by those locations or those that wish to research other options, you can use the physician locator function on the website www.lapband.com or contact your local county medical society.

Your medical records are confidential and a copy can be transferred to another doctor or released to you or to another person you designate only with your permission. Your medical records will be maintained by the custodian of records for 7 years from the date of last treatment as mandated by law.

The custodian of records is 

Betty May
2717 Summerhill Road
Texarkana, TX 75503

For medical record requests now or in the future it is advised that you mail your request rather than use our office fax number, as the fax may soon be removed.

I understand this departure may be troubling to some of you. I have conferred with the Texas Medical Association and received information from their Office of General Counsel to ensure that I am meeting all aspects of Texas state law and Texas Medical Board regulations for a departure from medical practice.

I will sincerely miss providing care to all of you and I wish you the best health in the future.


Ron Hekier, MD