Dr. Robert Heavin wins the 2019 Doc Hollywood Award

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Having been named the 2019 Doc Hollywood Award winner by the Indiana Rural Health Association, Dr. Robert Heavin (center) is congratulated by colleagues Dr. Warren Macy and Dr. Thomas Black.
Courtesy photo

Putnam County Hospital medical staff, its board of trustees, longtime friends and family gathered for a special lunch at the hospital to honor Dr. Robert Heavin, who was awarded the 2019 Doc Hollywood Award.

On Wednesday, “Doc” Heavin traveled to French Lick Springs to receive his official award at the Indiana Rural Health Association annual conference.

The Doc Holiday nomination is open to any individual in Indiana who has shown dedication toward improving healthcare in his or her own rural or other underserved community.

One Doc Hollywood awardee is recognized at IRHA’s annual conference.

A number of community members and fellow medical professionals praised Heavin in nominating him for the award.

“Dr. Heavin is truly a blessing to our community. He’s a great representation of the image of the old-time country doctor,” the Birt family wrote. “On numerous occasions Dr. Heavin showed up to provide care for our parents and aunt and uncle. Arriving with his black leather bag, he came right to their house.”

“I am writing to recognize my unsung hero in Putnam County, Dr. Robert Heavin,” Marcia Baker said. “It is my opinion that Dr. Heavin is a brilliant doctor — the best diagnostician that I have ever met — and I know a lot of physicians.

“I asked other patients of Dr. Heavin, old and new, what came to mind when they thought of their doctor,” Baker continued. “These were some of the words and phrases that were used: Humble, has a servant’s heart, dedicated, makes house calls, listens well to me when I’m describing my symptoms and he has prayed for me. Wonderful words to describe this amazing doctor.”

“One of my favorite stories is of the time he heard his cousin’s husband was ill and made a house call unannounced. No one but the ill gentleman was home,” Cathy Clodfelter shared. “Doc decided he had a ruptured abdominal aneurysm. The man’s wife arrived home as doc was loading him in his car. He told the wife there was no time to wait for the ambulance, he was going to drive the man (and) to meet them.

“The man was taken to the small county hospital where transport to Indy awaited,” Clodfelter continued. “The man survived despite suffering a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm in a remote rural area because of the skill and tenacity of Dr. Robert Heavin.”

“Challenged with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and a serious tractor accident several years ago, Dr. Heavin has continued to practice in a way that best suits the rural community and those who live there,” Jackie Eitel wrote. “A physician who is current in his practice, conservative and realistic in his approach and delivers care in a kind and compassionate manner, Dr. Heavin always enters a patient’s room with a smile and a kind word.”

Doc Hollywood Day, which is Oct. 14, is about recognizing the many individuals who care professionally for folks in the state’s rural and other underserved communities across the nation.

It is a time for celebration and fun. It also has a serious side.

Access to quality healthcare is a key component in terms of individuals’ physical and mental health. It is also a key component in communities’ economic vitality. Without healthcare, along with schools, industry, water systems and other infrastructure, communities wither and die.

Yet many people do not know about or understand the rewards of practicing in rural and other underserved communities, or even realize that they have the potential to become one of these heroic providers.

Raising visibility and awareness about these unsung heroes, and celebrating their contributions, enhances the ability to recruit people into these professions and areas to ensure access to quality health care and viable, thriving communities.

It is about fun, celebration and so much more.

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