Visionary physician remembered at Falmouth Hospital
Dr. E. Langdon Burwell, an innovator and forward thinking physician, was remembered for his commitment to Falmouth Hospital during the recent dedication of two conference rooms in his name.
The conference rooms, which were formerly known as Faxon I and II, were renamed in November and are now known together as the Burwell Education and Conference Center.
“The reason this came about is we wanted to recognize Dr. Burwell’s significant contributions to the history of Falmouth Hospital,” said Deborah Dougherty, senior development officer with Cape Cod Healthcare. “With his commitment to education, it seemed a perfect match.”
The rooms were refurbished with new lighting, wall coverings, tables, chairs and updated audio visual equipment funded in part by a donation from Nina Heald-Webber who had known Dr. Burwell.
“She wanted to support this honor in his memory,” said Dougherty.
Dr. Burwell and two other physicians were instrumental in the founding of Falmouth Hospital. They had a vision in 1955 that Falmouth “could and should have a hospital,” according to the Falmouth Enterprise. And they set about getting it done.
The Falmouth Hospital Association was formed to oversee the fundraising and plans for development of the new hospital. Construction began on St. Patrick’s Day, 1961.
“I was intrigued from the start with the idea of uniting in Falmouth the brilliant minds and latest equipment of a big city hospital with the pleasant surroundings and the intimacy of a smaller community hospital,” Dr. Burwell said as the first chief of internal medicine, at the opening of the hospital in 1963.
Dr. Burwell moved to Falmouth in 1953 from Washington, D.C. where he worked with the United States Department of Public Health. He and two other physicians formed Falmouth Medical Associates that same year. Their offices also housed laboratory equipment, an X-ray machine, and an EKG machine so patients would no longer need to travel to Pocasset or Tobey Hospital in Wareham for testing.
Dr. Burwell practiced internal medicine until his retirement in 1990. He died in 1993.
He believed strongly in the benefits of health education, and he encouraged colleagues to empower patients with information for healthy lifestyles and illness prevention. He also believed that physicians and nurses should set an example through their own health choices and would encourage staff to quit smoking and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
His mission will continue through the use of the rooms for medical, nursing, employee, patient and community learning opportunities.
[Above Featured Image: Retired and current clinical staff of Falmouth Hospital attending the event included Tom Sweeny, Moira Shea, Bill Wittman, John Funkhouser, Ken Heisler, Michael Gabriel, Dave Etler, Alex Heard, David Babin, Don Guadagnoli, Tom Gregg, Mike Fishbein and George Silva]