General Surgery: A Brock Family Tradition

A father and son sharing a meal at Waffle House at 4:30 in the morning isn’t that uncommon. But for Dr. Paul Brock and his son Dr. Bennett Brock, the shared meal came after finishing emergency surgery.

Dr. Paul Brock is a general surgeon at Harbin Clinic and has been serving people in Rome and Floyd County for more than three decades. In the spring, Harbin Clinic hosted his son, who is a general surgery resident at Emory, for a five-week rotation.

On the final day of Dr. Bennett Brock’s time in Rome, the pair sat down and discussed their experience.

“We saw all the patients together, and we operated together. I learned from him, and he learned from me,” Dr. Paul Brock says. “Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to be able to share your life’s calling with your children and then have them find the same vocation?”

Dr. Paul Brock loves his life’s work, and he cares completely for his patients and his practice. While growing up, Dr. Bennett Brock saw his father’s passion for medicine and surgery, and it had a strong influence on him.

“I think I realized I wanted to be a doctor early in high school. I saw the joy it brought my dad,” he says. “I saw how the patients responded to him, and I knew I wanted to do something that generated in me the same fervor he had.”

Dr. Paul Brock knows first hand the hours and time away from family that comes with being a surgeon, and he says he never tried to exert undue influence on his kids.

“I’m incredibly proud of him for his decision and what he is doing. I never put any pressure on my children to go to medical school. Everyone has to make their own decision,” Dr. Paul Brock says. “Once he decided, I was super excited he was going to do it.”

The two had a chance to work together a few years ago on a trip to Honduras when Dr. Bennett Brock was still in medical school.

“We went with a bunch of other doctors,” Dr. Bennett Brock says. “It was a different experience, because we served as our own scrub techs. We had a working clinic and saw upwards of 200 to 300 patients a day. I enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed working with my dad.”

That time spent together meant a lot to both of them, and the chance for them to work together again was too good to pass up.

“It took us a year and half to get him up from Emory,” Dr. Paul Brock says. “It’s been a great five weeks, and we all know we’ll miss him.”

“I think we had about 130 cases,” says Dr. Bennett Brock. “Just for perspective, in residency that number would usually take about three or four months, and we did that in five weeks.”

Not only did they work together, but they also drove to and from work with each other, spending quality time in surgery, on rounds and in the car.

“We had our ‘medicine mornings’ as I call them, and he rode with me in the afternoon to talk more medicine,” Dr. Paul Brock says.

“We’ve always had a close relationship. Our shared love for medicine and for surgery has brought us even closer together,” Dr. Bennett Brock says. “I’ve picked up a lot of tricks from him that I never would have learned in a textbook. This has been a priceless experience. Being able to do this with my father at this stage in my career while I’m still moldable and learning has been phenomenal. I know it’s made me a better surgeon.”

“Very few medical doctors and surgeons ever have this opportunity,” added Dr. Paul Brock. “Their children are often on a different path. This has been a very rare commodity to spend this kind of time with my son.”

Even if it means spending some early-morning time sharing medical knowledge over a double order of smothered and covered hash browns at Waffle House.