Thursday, March 13, 2014

Doc Cole retires

by Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor
The career of Doctor Wayne Cole is a small town success story. He went from working in the coal mines to being one of the last small town doctors you will ever find. And he did it all right here in Providence, the town he has always called home.
On October 1 2013, Doctor Wayne Cole quietly retired from the medical field after more than 40 years of serving Webster County families. 
Those of us who have been treated by “Doc” through the years expected a lot of pomp and circumstance to come along with his departure, but that’s just not the kind of guy he is. He would rather tell you about how proud he is of his daughter and granddaughters that are carrying on the family tradition. 
Daughter Dr. Kelly Cole still works at Methodist Family Medicine Providence, formerly known as Cole Clinic. Granddaughter Chrissy Branson recently became a nurse practitioner, granddaughter Candie Outlaw is an RN, and another granddaughter, Carlie Cole, is a Registered Radiology Tech. His youngest daughter, Kimberly Reusch, is a speech pathologist.
But it isn’t fitting for a man who has meant so much to so many to simply fade into history. Many people, like myself, have been treated right there in his living room on Main Street in Providence. I’ve heard others talk about Doc making house calls for people who were unable to get out. I’ve also heard the stories of him staying in his office until every patient was seen, regardless of what time it was. There are even stories about Doc treating patients he knew would never be able to pay.
Doctor Cole started his private practice in 1966.
“When I started out it was just me and two girls working out of a house on the highway,” he recalled. “Back then I was working 7:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night. During the flu season that year I saw 162 patients in one day. Two other days that same week we had 140.”
During his early years he spent a lot of time at the hospital, delivering between 150 and 175 babies at Cardwell Hospital in Providence.
“After 1973 everything changed,” he said. “Federal regulations made it so that we couldn’t maintain the hospital any longer. We just couldn’t comply with all of the new regulations.” 
During his career Doctor Cole was dedicated to the well being of his patients, but there was a lot more than that. From 1984 to 1999 he was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air National Guard. He was on the Green River District Health Department for nearly 30 years. He also served four years on the Providence City Council and four years as the mayor of Providence.
“Whenever Dr. Wayne Cole began to think about retiring, Methodist Physician Services began to discuss with him the possibility of continuing services there with Methodist Hospital Physician Services obtaining ownership,” said Mary L. Whitledge, Methodist Hospital’s Marketing and Public Relations Manager. “Dr. Wayne Cole’s daughter, Dr. Kelly Cole is now the physician at the same clinic where her father served the community for many years. Dr. Wayne’s granddaughter, Chrissy Chumley, APRN has also joined our team there at Methodist Family Medicine Providence.”


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