By Whitley Clifton | March 20, 2020 5:35 pm
Last Updated: March 19, 2020 at 2:55 pm
During the years I have been able to publish my columns in the Blade, I have only labeled one subject as a “Legend”. (In case you do not remember, that was Melvie Stephens.)
A lasting legend is a story handed down from the past. Some are verifiable, and some have been enhanced by the teller. That matters little if the tale is good for a laugh or a tear.
If you ask who remembers the years of Dr. Randal Brown’s medical practice, the response will be, “Let me tell you a story about him.” .
Dr. Brown began his medical career serving in World Two. He treated savage carnage, untold horror and saw deaths on the battlefield. Along with his heroic service he added to his medical skills and knowledge. I feel sure that he also gained the confidence to try anything that might save a life. Perhaps this established the dedication and self-assurance that we remember.
When he returned home to his family, he established a practice in his hometown of Summit.
During that time, I became ill with high temperature and extremely sore throats. After trying all of the usual treatments to no avail, my family was terrified that at age nine I was at “death’s door” Then came an early morning phone call from my Uncle Claude who lived in Summit.
“I told Randal Brown how worried we are about Shirley. He said he knows the ailment and can treat it. Bring her down here since nothing else has helped.”
Very soon, I was swaddled with covers and pillows in the back seat of our pre-war 1938 Ford. Dr. Brown wasted no time on small talk and set to work swabbing my throat. After examining under a microscope, he gave a diagnosis—Strep Throat—which could be cured quickly with one of the new “miracle drugs” that had been developed during the war. He was the miracle. I have been told that story so many times by my family that it is indeed a legend.
He enlarged his practice and moved to Swainsboro. His first clinic was in a small brick building across from the Methodist Church. Next, he converted a frame house in mid Church St. into a clinic. This provided several rooms for in-patients, waiting room, operating /delivery room and very efficient nurses. Dr. Brown set broken bones, removed appendix and tonsils, stitched up injuries, colds, flu, pneumonia and delivered babies. I bet some of you were delivered by him. The list would include any ailing person who walked through the door. Bed-side manner was often lacking because he concentrated on healing. Parts of his vocabulary would have been bleeped out on TV, for his thoughts were always on the patient.
He was an advance supporter of Emanuel County Hospital which gave many services that had been unavailable. After my father’s last and fatal heart attack, I saw his compassion. He told my mother and me, “I sure did hate to lose the Judge.”
Most of his work was done before many had insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or means of assistance. I have no proof of this, but my heart tells me that he never turned anyone away.
Once I had an opportunity to talk with Edith Brown Dekle . I could not resist relating my strep throat event. She laughed and said, “People always have a story to tell about my Dad.” Thank you, Dr. Brown, for your care and service to us. You are truly an Emanuel County legend.
Write to Shirley at email@example.com.