Originally created 06/25/02

Savannah doctor has a few admirers



SAVANNAH - Matt Damon, he's not.

In fact, Memorial Medical Health trauma surgeon Mike Millie doesn't ever want to be an actor.

Since April 1, though, the young doctor has played a starring role in the TV documentary Code Blue.

In the 10 episodes that run at 8 p.m. Mondays and conclude tonight, Dr. Millie often is at center stage.

Not only that, but, according to publicists on Code Blue's Web site, "Dr. Millie is the heartthrob of the hospital."

Now, like many a star of stage and screen, Dr. Millie has fans.

From Canada to California, women have been writing him letters, he recounted recently. Some propose marriage. Some phone the 32-year-old bachelor at all hours of the day and night.

Consider these excerpts from recent letters: "I watched the last 45-minutes of your episode of Code Blue last night and thought you were one of the most handsome men I've ever seen on TV," gushes "Liz," a professional model and art director from Santa Monica, Calif., who not only sent Dr. Millie her business card but also suggested he check out the pictures on her Web site.

Dr. Millie has been surprised by the letters, but Charles J. Elmore, the chairman of mass communication at Savannah State University, said the response of fans to someone they have watched on television was to be expected.

Heavy television watchers often respond to a show by trying to communicate with its leading characters, said Dr. Elmore. They watch so much television that the show becomes part of their reality, he said.

And when they see a handsome surgeon on TV, "They think, 'I can write him and know him,"' Dr. Elmore said.That reality is warped, he said.

"It ain't realistic to see a trauma surgeon on television and think, if you write him a lot, he'll call you back," Dr. Elmore continued.

Dr. Millie certainly thinks so. Though his hopeful fans keep writing - some of the more than once - Dr. Millie throws most of their letters in the trash.

Because he's received so many calls from fans, Dr. Millie now uses Caller ID to screen all his phone calls at home.

Still, he did talk to one total stranger recently.

The caller was a 10-year-old girl from Texas who called because she had to interview someone in medicine for a science project.

Dr. Millie answered her questions. He told her how he decided to become a doctor - earning an undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, then spending five years in medical school at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.