RICHMOND – COVID-19 claimed the life of a doctor at Ray County Memorial Hospital, Dr. John E. Scowley, 72, Richmond, Dec. 30.
“He was around a lot of patients,” Presiding Commissioner Bob King said.
“There are a lot of folks who lost a good friend and there’s a lot more folks who lost a doctor,” Ray County Eastern District Commissioner Allen Dale said.
“Everybody’s grieving here,” Hospital Administrator Earl Sheehy said. “The community’s grieving, too. It’s a significant loss. He practiced here for nearly 40 years. He’ll definitely be missed.”
Scowley’s death is a loss to Sheehy personally.
“We used to joke that I must give plenty of notice when I plan to retire so he could retire, but apparently he decided to beat me to it,” Sheehy said Monday. “We’re going to feel the loss. … I consider him a good friend of mine. … I’m going to miss him.”
The hospital board’s treasurer and a Meritas Health employee, Scowley did what other health providers have done during the pandemic – put himself at risk to care for patients, Sheehy said.
“All of our physicians that I have on staff, especially in the ER, get exposed to COVID daily,” Sheefy said Monday, later adding, “Today, we have six employees out with COVID.”
Finding a replacement with Scowley’s experience will not be done easily, Sheehy said.
Meritas looked for a year to find physician to help at the clinic where Scowley worked. The candidate – whom Meritas found with Scowley’s help – is not expected to be in place until the end of summer, Sheehy said.
There are people who take the virus seriously, caring for themselves and others by wearing masks to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, but many do not, Sheehy said.
“We have a lot of selfish people that are around – not just here, it’s everywhere – that refuse to wear a mask or do anything to prevent the spread,” he said.
All who plan to attend services for Scowley will be required to wear masks.
Scowley, an Air Force veteran, is survived by a wife, son and daughter.
Dr. Scowley's complete obituary can be seen HERE.