The year 1974 is remembered for the Watergate scandal and the premiers of Happy Days, The Sting, and Blazing Saddles. A little closer to home, 1974 brought Dr. Patrick Harr back home to Maryville to practice medicine. Now after 38 years, Dr. Harr has announced that he will retire on May 31.
For nearly four decades, Dr. Harr has been taking care of patients in Northwest Missouri and Southwest Iowa. Not only has he developed a successful primary care office practice, he has covered 1,000s of basketball, football, and baseball games and other sporting events as the team doctor for Maryville High School and Northwest Missouri State University. In fact, his talents and passion for athletics has earned him placement in the Missouri Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame and Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
When reflecting on the changes he has seen over the years, Dr. Harr first speaks of the increase in the number of physicians on the medical staff. During the time he was in officer positions with the American Academy of Family Physicians, he visited every state in the country talking with family physicians. “Most were in awe because of the number of physicians and specialists we had in this small, rural community,” said Dr. Harr. “Only a hand’s full have what we have on our medical staff; you don’t see it anywhere else.”
“When I arrived here, basically the OB had a bili-light and nothing else,” Dr. Harr said. “I was one of the first to allow fathers into the delivery room. There was no respiratory therapy department; a contracted service provided RT before the department was developed. The PT department went from one person to the huge department that we have now. X-ray and contrast studies have also grown extensively; before there was no CT, no MRI, no cardio scans.”
Throughout his tenure, Dr. Harr has served in all the medical staff officer positions multiple times. Not only as a Maryville medical community leader, Dr. Harr has also served the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians with participation on its board of directors over the years including a term as president throughout his more than three-decade membership. He has been a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians for 38 years, serving as president and as board chairman twice.
Dr. Harr also took time to serve on the Advisory Board for The Century Council, a national organization fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, for ten years.
Serving kids has always been a passion for Dr. Harr. He was instrumental in the recruitment of an orthopedic surgeon to Maryville so that the sport-injury surgeries could be performed locally. With assistance with local athletic trainers, he developed the process for the improvement of the evaluation and treatment of concussions. “The athletic training staff at Northwest was invaluable in developing the concussion program, as well as the athletic trainers at St. Francis in pushing the program out to the rural schools,” he stated.
“The hardest part (of retiring) is my relationship with my patients,” Dr. Harr concluded. “When you know people for nearly 40 years, it’s like saying good bye to members of my family.