Brothers from Memphis on front lines of local coronavirus battle

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two brothers born and raised in Memphis have been on the front lines of the local battle against COVID-19.

Inspired by a passion for science and generations of Threlkelds in the Memphis healthcare community, it made sense that both Michael and Stephen, who are separated by six years in age, would become doctors one day.

In 1997, they took it a step further when they worked together in the same office.

“It was an easy decision to make,” Baptist Hospital infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said. “Michael had a busy practice and needed some help, and so it’s worked out well.”

Doctors Stephen (left) and Michael (right) Threlkeld are on the front lines of the local coronavirus battle.

Working together for 23 years and counting, the Threlkelds are two of the top infectious disease experts in the Mid-South.

Now battling the COVID-19 pandemic side-by-side at Baptist East Hospital, their work is more visible, but life as brothers is pretty much the same.

“We’ve got plenty of work to do, so we don’t get in each other’s way,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Threlkeld said. “I don’t think it’s changed dramatically with the COVID, from what it had been previously.”

“It’s very helpful that you have a brother that you can call at any time,” Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said.

The long work weeks and the missed dinners and events are made a bit easier when you’re next to the person who has been there all your life.

“Whereas if you’re calling somebody else somewhere, you might think, well I hate to bother them again … I don’t mind bothering him at all—any time,” Dr. Michael Threlkeld said.

When there are disagreements or arguments at the hospital, there’s an expert who helps find an answer for that, too.

“If something doesn’t go right, you can just call your mom and complain, who is 90, and doing great,” Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said. “She can still referee when she needs to.”

Both Threlkelds urged Mid-South residents to remain diligent in the battle against COVID-19 and keep up safe practices.

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