PCH honors doctor for vision of cancer care in rural setting

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Dr. William Dugan (left) was honored by Putnam County Hospital CEO Dennis Weatherford during a celebration of 30 years of cancer care locally. The two were joined by oncologist Dr. Frank Workman. (Banner Graphic/Sabrina Westfall)

Putnam County Hospital celebrated 30 years of quality cancer care Monday by recognizing founding member of the Cancer Center, Dr. William Dugan.

Dr. Dugan was presented a plaque to show gratitude for his vision by hospital CEO Dennis Weatherford. The two were joined by physician Dr. Frank Workman, a medical oncologist/hematologist.

Dr. Dugan, a DePauw University graduate, was among the founding members of the Community Cancer Care (CCC) outreach program in 1983, which focused on providing cancer care in rural settings to keep patients from having to travel for treatment.

Dr. William Dugan and Dr. Frank Workman were surrounded by Putnam County Cancer Center employees of past and present during a celebration Monday, including cancer center manager Rhonda McCammack, former manager Sharon Walters, retired oncology nurse Sue Stattner, office manager Becky Hutcheson, nurse Joanne Cantrell, nurse Julie V. Becker, medical assistant Amanda McCammack, nurse Julie Batty and nurse Casey Hendrixson. (Banner Graphic/Sabrina Westfall)

The dream expanded to the point a team of doctors were visiting around 30 sites throughout the state to treat patients with cancer.

Weatherford said Putnam County was lucky to have Dugan working in the community.

"We were lucky to have a DePauw connection and be one of the first sites," Weatherford said. "Thirty years is a long time for the cancer center to provide world-class cancer treatment right here in Greencastle."

Weatherford stressed the cancer care services are not typical in a rural community, but with the vision of Dr. Dugan and the continued work of Dr. Workman, the community will continue to receive the best care.

"Greencastle has a special place in my heart," Dugan said, adding he attended DePauw more than 50 years ago.

He added his wife was a DePauw graduate, his five children attended DePauw -- four of whom graduated from the university -- and two grandchildren graduated from DePauw.

"The latter part of who I had lunch with every time I came to clinic here in Greencastle. So, it was a special thing for me," Dugan said.

Dr. Dugan recalled the day he ran his eighth mini-marathon in Indianapolis and the Community Cancer Care CEO picked him up to give a presentation for the Cancer Center.

"Our CCC CEO picked me up at the finish line and we drove rapidly to get to Greencastle. I ran into the men's room on the first floor and took a bath in the wash basin and got out of my running gear, put my suit on and came upstairs to present the virtues of the CCC outreach program," Dugan recalled. "The rest is history, as they say."

Dugan said in just a 10-year time frame, Community Cancer Care was able to treat 100,000 patients in the state of Indiana.

"As a physician, I think anything and everything we do has to be for the patient. I think the CCC outreach program was my proudest medical career accomplishment. At the height we had 30 hospitals and nearly 20 oncologists in these communities," Dugan said.

In addition to providing quality care, Dr. Dugan said the program offered continuing education for doctors and nurses who dedicated their time.

Dr. Dugan said the knowledgeable staff at the hospitals in the Community Cancer Center network were quick to treat chemotherapy-related infections that could often spring up overnight.

"Everyone knew what to do. The patients at 3 a.m. would come to the emergency room, get blood cultures done, antibiotics would be started before they were admitted to the hospital and they would be well by breakfast," Dugan said.

"We did refer patients when it was appropriate for radiation ... but largely, we were able to treat everybody locally."

Looking forward, Dr. Dugan said he hopes Putnam County Cancer Center can continue to keep the doors open, maintain independence as long as possible and keep as many people close to home for treatment as it can.

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    -- Posted by Queen53 on Wed, Sep 30, 2015, at 10:33 AM
  • The hospital and the community are definitely blessed to have such talented doctors and staff then and now. So grateful to have such a service in our hometown. Great article!

    -- Posted by smartmom2 on Wed, Sep 30, 2015, at 3:30 PM
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