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Dr. Allen gave much to medical field in region

Staff Report • Apr 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM

We were saddened to learn of the passing of one of the key leaders in the establishment of a medical school at East Tennessee State University. As you probably read in Friday’s edition of the Press, Dr. Charles Edward Allen died Wednesday at age 82. He was a giant in local health care, both as a gifted cardiologist and as a dedicated advocate for the creation of the James H. Quillen College of Medicine.

“His efforts go back into at least the 1960s in trying to establish a medical school here,” said Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr., former ETSU president and also a former patient of Dr. Allen. “Ed kept his eye on the ball and never gave up. He was the force that was the leader behind it. No one had anything more to do with getting the medical school here than he did.”

Our condolences go out to his family and many friends. Dr. Allen’s obituary makes note of his “courageous battle” against Alzheimer’s. Family members of the victims of Alzheimer’s know all too painfully well the toll this disease takes.

Alzheimer’s robs patients of their most precious memories and intellect before finally claiming their lives. But it is not only those who are afflicted with this insidious disease who suffer, so do their spouses, children and other family members who often serve as primary caregivers to Alzheimer’s patients.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be a 24-hour-a-day job. Sometimes symptoms, such as hallucinations or aggressive behavior, may call for much more specialized care than a family member can provide.

There are support groups in this area that can lend a hand to those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent place to learn about these services. Call the association’s regional office at 928-4080, or go online at www.alz.org/altn to find out more.

The Regional Alzheimer’s Association office, Emeritus and Appalachian Christian Village will host a free Family Caregiver Conference from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., May 17 at Cherokee United Methodist Church in Johnson City. The conference is free but registration is required. To register, call Heather Gwinn at 800-272-3900 or email hgwinn@alz.org.

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