The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 4, 2014

Close call informs Melson's politics

— Tim Melson is lucky to be alive.

Knowing that, he says, informs his thinking as a family man, as a businessman, and as a candidate for Alabama Senate District 1.

The retired Florence anesthesiologist nearly died five years ago. He was working as chief of anesthesia at Helen Keller Hospital, a position he had held since 1995, when his liver began to fail.

Because the Church of Christ member didn’t drink, do drugs or engage in any other harmful activities known to cause liver damage, he was shocked.

“Doctors told me I needed a liver transplant and a heart transplant,” he said. (The liver problem was affecting his heart function.)

Although he got on a transplant list, he wasn’t hopeful.

“I planned on just going home — figured I’d had a good life,” he said.

Then, he received a call from a doctor in Pittsburgh, who said they had a liver for him. The doctor believed a new liver would resolve his heart problems. The doc was right.

It was after Melson returned home and recovered that he started thinking about running for state Senate.

“I had two (children) still in high school, so I decided to enjoy them and get them out and then I decided to run,” he said. During that time, he had time to re-evaluate his life and think about what really mattered to him.

“I decided it doesn’t matter what you accumulate, it’s what you leave behind,” Melson said. He and his wife Lynn have three children and have been married 33 years.

Improving life in North Alabama became his goal. He retired from anesthesiology, which consumed a monumental amount of his time. He now owns Shoals Medical Trials, which performs clinical trials for new drug development, farms about 300 acres of row crops, and is a hobbyist cattleman.

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