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January 29, 2013

New Albany’s first pediatrician dies

Dr. Patrick Hess opened practice in 1950

NEW ALBANY — Dr. Patrick Hess left his mark on New Albany and Floyd County in so many ways.

Hess was New Albany’s first pediatrician, opening his medical practice in 1950 after graduating from the University of Louisville medical school. He retired from medicine in 1996 and began his second career as an artist. In his 70s he began to study painting at the University of Louisville, completing 11 consecutive semesters and producing some of his best work well into his late 80s. He converted his office — the Brooks-Bradley House on the corner of Ninth and Market streets — into the Hess Studio Gallery.

Hess died Monday at Norton’s Hospital in Louisville. He was 91.

For 46 years, Hess treated thousands of children, and according to his obituary, was tirelessly dedicated to the care and well-being of children, answering his own phone 24-hours-a-day and making frequent house and hospital calls in the middle of the night. 

“He was an excellent physician,” said Dr. Daniel Cannon, a retired New Albany general physician. “His patients all loved him.”

Cannon said Hess came to New Albany at the right time since the city did not have a pediatrician.

“Children who were seriously ill, if we didn’t know what to do with them, we sent them to Louisville,” Cannon said. “A lot of us didn’t have the training to treat children with certain diseases. We had to refer some cases to surgeons. He gave us a more complete medical community. He was one of the first specialists who came to town.”

Cannon said when Hess opened his office, he was the seventh specialist in the city. There were three general surgeons, three ear, eyes and nose specialists, and Hess.

Hess was a New Albany native. He graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1939 and the University of Louisville medical school in 1945. After a stint in the Army, Hess opened his practice in New Albany. He first started out on Spring Street before moving to the Brooks-Bradley House in 1963.

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