David Hemsell, M.D., is recognized nationally as a leading authority on gynecological infectious disease. A graduate of the University of Kansas Medical Center (1964), he completed a research fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at UT Southwestern under the direction of Paul C. MacDonald, M.D. (1971–1973) before returning to the Air Force to fulfill his military commitment. In 1977, he joined the UT Southwestern Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as Director of the new Gynecology Division (a position he held until 2003) and Chief of Gynecology for the Parkland Health and Hospital System. Under his leadership, Parkland’s gynecological services were expanded and preventative health care was enhanced.
Realizing the importance of conveniently located facilities for women’s health, Dr. Hemsell served on the Parkland Outpatient (Ambulatory Care) Task Force and was the Director of Parkland’s OB/Gyn Clinic from 1987–2005. In 1980, he became the Medical Director of the Parkland Obstetrics and Gynecology Emergency Room — one of the few emergency rooms in the nation dedicated solely to the treatment of women. There, he coordinated the program to examine victims of sexual assault and collect evidence for the Medical Examiner. This program — regarded as among the best for medical/legal care of women who suffer sexual assault — received early recognition on the popular T.V. program Quincy which aired on NBC in the late 1970s.
Dr. Hemsell’s evidence-based approach to health care became the standard. His early studies on the etiology and pathogenesis of pelvic infection following gynecological surgery led to a protocol for enumeration of risk factors in surgical patients and reduced post-operative days at Parkland Memorial Hospital. He went on to examine the role of various anti-infective drugs in the treatment of infections following cesarean delivery. He also explored their effectiveness in treating community-acquired pelvic abscesses and pelvic inflammatory disease as well as acute polymicrobial bacterial pelvic infections. He served on the Parkland Infectious Disease Control Committee (1982–1997) and was a gynecological consultant to other Parkland services as well as at the Dallas VA Hospital.
In 1993, the Infectious Disease Society of America recognized his contributions with their Meritorious Achievement Award.
Dr. Hemsell approached teaching as he did clinical research. He taught medical students, residents, and fellows the importance of using an evidence-based approach in treating patients. He fought to expand the medical student gynecology curriculum. Teaming with a female student who was passionate about the necessity, he created the first sophomore Female Pelvic Exam course and served as the course director for the next 10 years. In 2002, the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology recognized his contributions to education with the Excellence in Teaching Award.
But, Dr. Hemsell’s commitment to medical education went beyond the classroom, operating room, and bedside. Few knew that for many years, he paid the tuition for freshman students whom the Registrar’s Office deemed the least able to pay their own tuition.
In 2005, Dr. Hemsell retired as a full-time faculty member, but continued part time as Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology — serving as faculty attending in the Parkland Community Women’s Clinics — until his full retirement January 31, 2016. On February 1, 2016, he was named Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology — the fifth faculty member and the first gynecologist to receive that honor.
- Actinomyces associated with persistent vaginal granulation tissue.
- Wai CY, Hemsell DL Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol 2005 13 53-55
- Concerns regarding the Centers for Disease Control's published guidelines for pelvic inflammatory disease
- Hemsell DL, Ledger WJ, Martens M, Monif GRG, Osborne NG, Thomason JL Clinical Infectious Diseases 2001 32,1 103-107
- Bacteriology and treatment of malodorous lower reproductive tract in gynecologic cancer patients
- von Gruenigen VE, Li AJ, Heard MC, Coleman RL, Miller DS, Hemsell DL Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology 2000 96,1 23-27
Honors & Awards
- Meritorious Achievement
Infectious Diseases Society of America, 31st Annual Meeting (1993)
- College Award for Scientific and Educational Exhibit
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (1983)
- Founders Award, Armed Forces District
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (1972)