Monday, February 25, 2019

Remembering Great-Uncle Otis

February 26th, marks what would have been Otis Bowen's 101st birthday. To commemorate a favorite son of this treasured community, I'd like to share a couple of passages from How Hoosier Values Shaped a Great Physician and Public Servant. Tomorrow, let us take a moment to honor a life and times devoted beyond oneself. -- Christopher Scandling

After military service, Bowen returned to Bremen, Indiana, to practice family medicine. His first case was poison ivy, and his $1.50 fee included a bottle of calamine lotion. His typical day started at 6:30 a.m. After hospital rounds and house calls, office hours began at 9:00 a.m., followed by a house call or two and lunch at noon, then back to the office until 6:00 p.m. In addition to surgeries such as tonsillectomies and appendectomies, Bowen delivered about 10 babies per month, amounting to 3,000 over his career.

Though many contemporaries would regard Bowen's hardscrabble youth as anything but enviable, when he looked back over his long career in his memoir, Doc: Memories from a Life in Public Service (IU Press, 2000), he expressed his gratitude that he had been born "at a good time under circumstances that made me a better person." Growing up in a small Indiana town, he said, had taught him "persistence, determination, sticking to a project, and never giving up on a goal."

- Credit to Richard B. Gunderman for penning this special tribute in the January 2019 issue of 200: The Bicentennial Magazine

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