It is rare that those in the medical field have over 40 years of service. It is even more unusual for this service to be at the same hospital for that period of time.However, at Tennova …
It is rare that those in the medical field have over 40 years of service. It is even more unusual for this service to be at the same hospital for that period of time.
However, at Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland, six doctors have been recognized for that longevity. Two of those doctors who have over 40 years dating back to when Tennova's west campus was named Cherokee Park, were honored at a special reception Wednesday.
Dr. Allan Chastain and Dr. Don Robinson were recognized for their time serving at the hospital, through its time as Cleveland Community Hospital, Bradley Memorial Hospital and SkyRidge Medical Center.
"I started in January 1977," Chastain said. "I have patients who I started seeing in 1977, and people got used to us and liked coming to us."
He joined practice with his father, Dr. Chalmer Chastain, and their office is one of the longest practices in Cleveland.
"Things have changed so much since 1977," he noted. "When I started here in Cleveland, we didn't have any cardiologists or pulmonarists, so if someone had a heart attack, I took care of it.
"Whatever it took, we just did it all," Chastain added.
Chastain covered emergency rooms at both hospitals.
He said that being in medicine came naturally as he watched his father in that profession. And, he learned, that being a doctor is very rewarding.
"There is always something good to do every day, and you can make a difference every day in medicine, and if you can help people, you have that opportunity every day," Chastain said.
Robinson agreed that working at the hospitals in Cleveland for 40-plus years has changed over the years.
"We did everything," Robinson said. He joined the hospitals in 1977 also, about six months after Chastain.
He added that both he and Chastain had to give up some of their personal life to be doctors.
"People say that 'medicine is a jealous mistress' and when you are 'married' to medicine, people expect you to be there," Robinson said. In fact, he said his son played varsity soccer for two years, and he only had the opportunity to see him play twice.
"Things have changed in those 40 years. When I first came, we didn't have CAT scans, so if they didn't know what was wrong with you, they would cut you open," he said. "Now, they almost always know what they are going to see before they get in there."
Robinson added that he had "to walk around with a pocket full of change" to call his office from a pay phone to see if he was needed. He said that "the real big change maker was when we had cellphones for the first time."
Robinson left Tennova not very long ago to begin working with the VA out-patient center in Chattanooga.
"It was a tough decision, and I enjoyed my time at the hospital," he said, adding that while he has delivered 50 to 60 babies, only three of them were delivered at the Cleveland facilities.
"I helped with the delivery of my children. My hands were the first that they ever felt," Robinson smiled.
He said that while not following in the family tradition of medicine, he, too, had someone who led him to want to become a doctor.
"I would have to say that Dr. Herb Whittle in Etowah led me to medicine," Robinson said. "He was my family doctor in Etowah."
In sort of a medical twist, now, Robinson is Whittle's family doctor.
Both men thanked Tennova for recognizing them with the accolades of being placed on their Wall of Honor. They join four other doctors who put in 40 years at the incarnations of the hospital: Drs. David Anderson, Paul Smith, John Chambers and William Johnson, who attended the ceremony.
Their photographs, on special plaques, will be placed on the wall at the entrance to the main Tennova facility
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