“It was like being in a war zone,” Dr. Wilson recalls, “with escorts and curfews throughout the city as the military worked to set up field hospitals. Having the opportunity to work with them was incredible—with their resources and capabilities for dealing with such a disaster.”
Heavily involved in and recognized for his role in the response and recovery efforts to this devastating disaster, Dr. Wilson received an award as the Most Outstanding Emergency Medicine Resident as well as Civilian Physician Recognition as part of the 14th Combat Support Hospital and Joint Task Force Katrina. He subsequently completed a fellowship in undersea and hyperbaric medicine at LSU Medical Center before returning to Santa Barbara in 2007 with his wife, Monica, and their two young children, Alexander and Estela, both of whom had been born in Louisiana. He joined the Cottage medical staff at that time.
“It’s most impressive here at Cottage—how well run the [emergency] department is,” says Dr. Wilson. “And people truly enjoy their jobs; I really mean that. You don’t hear grumbling. And for me, I’m just very proud that I can be part of taking care of the community.”
Since returning to Santa Barbara, the Wilsons—who originally met in a Human Anatomy class at UCSB—have added Jacqueline Renee to the family, born at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in 2010.