Mercy Health Love County - News

Dr. Hutchins Celebrating 30th Year in Local Practice

Posted on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019


Dr. Stephen Hutchins, M.D.


 Community Doctor: Dr. Stephen Hutchins, M.D., in a
lighter moment in 2011, performs a magic trick at a
Lions Club Pancake Supper in Marietta. Hutchins is
celebrating 30 years in medical practice in 2019.


Dr. Stephen Hutchins is celebrating his 30th year of practice as a medical doctor. After a brief time in solo practice in Marietta in 1989, he joined the newly-established hospital clinic at Mercy Health/Love County Hospital in 1990.

Hutchins is now chief of staff, and there are five practitioners, including Hutchins, Dr. Terry Jones, Family Nurse Practitioner Patricia Owens, Dr. Margaret Western, and Dr. Joe Witten.  

The clinic, like the hospital, is a Love County-owned business, here to serve the people of Love County and surrounding area. 

“I enjoy my job of helping other people. I like the community at large and the sense of community within the hospital and clinic. This is a nurturing place, family-centered, and filled with people who have a passion for their jobs. We also have very good administration,” Hutchins said, speaking of Richard Barker, hospital administrator, and Connie Barker, clinic director, who have been his only executive leaders through the years.

Hutchins also expressed appreciation for Dr. J.T. O’Connor, Jr. and Dr. Vergil Smith, his original colleagues in the clinic. “I joined the clinic right out of residency. They helped me and I learned a lot practicing alongside them,” Hutchins said.

Dr. Hutchins is a Board-Certified family physician serving children, adolescents, and adults. He sees patients in the clinic, hospital and emergency room.

When not practicing medicine, Hutchins is studying medicine. He has been recognized by the American Academy of Family Physicians for regularly completing twice the number of hours of continuing education required for medical doctors.

 “At their yearly conference, I may be able to attend only a limited number of lectures in person, but I will take home recordings of all the lectures – there may be 100 of them -- and watch them all,” he said.

Hutchins has a special interest in mental health and for many years has spent his day off from the clinic seeing outpatients at Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers in Ardmore. He also is a consulting physician to the jail in Johnston County. For the Oklahoma Health Care Authority he is a peer review physician, asked to examine medical discharge charts of physicians in Oklahoma to determine appropriate levels of hospital care.

In the community, Hutchins has twice served as president of the Marietta Lions Club, which he joined in 1989. To encourage attendance in 2011, he developed a repertoire of weekly magic tricks. “It got to be expected each meeting while I was president,” he said. 

His audience extended to the Lions’ Pancake Supper. “I enjoy doing the sleight of hand tricks,” Hutchins said at the time. “I practiced at the clinic. Staff members were my guinea pigs. If I made a mistake and they figured it out, I knew I had to get better.” 

Most weekends when Hutchins is not on call at the hospital are devoted to physical fitness. In the winter, he participates in “orienteering.”  This is hiking from marker to marker using a map and compass in outdoor events organized by the North Texas Orienteering Association. In the summer, he seeks out bicycle races. These are endurance or speed events. “My record is 74 miles ridden in one day,” he said.

A close call in a biking accident in Oklahoma City three months ago left Hutchins grateful for life. “I was hit by a car. I landed on top of the car and my head hit the windshield. I had a mild concussion and a sprained knee ligament. If I hadn’t been wearing my bike helmet I don’t believe I would be here today,” he said. “It was a spiritual awakening for me and very emotional for my wife. I am thankful to God,” he said.

Hutchins said he was influenced toward medicine by his mother, Catherine Hutchins, a career nurse and teacher, and by his part-time work during high school and college as a nursing home orderly.

He and two brothers were raised in Rochester, NY, and he migrated to Oklahoma to attend Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.

Hutchins earned undergraduate and medical (M.D.) degrees from ORU, the latter in 1986.

Medical school was preceded by a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Arkansas. He completed a three-year residency program after graduating from medical school.

As part of their residency, family physicians receive training in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, psychiatry and neurology, surgery, and community medicine.

Hutchins’ family includes his wife Sheri, two sons, one daughter, one stepson, a step-great niece raised in the home, two granddaughters, and two grandsons.