RIP, Donald Spittlehouse

RIP, Donald Spittlehouse

Aug 30, 2013

Every EMS system in the country, and most likely the world, has their share of “regular” patients.  It was brought to my attention via Facebook that Springfield lost one of its most well known patients who was a frequent user of the ambulance service there for close to 30 years.  No one, however, has been able to find an obituary, so I decided to write one for him. . .

Donald Spittlehouse (1945 – 2013) was called by his own personal higher power sometime in the past two weeks.  While the exact date of his passing is unknown, his loss was felt far and wide throughout the EMS community in the greater Springfield, Massachusetts area.

While much of Donald’s background is unknown, his reputation was legendary and the kind of thing that fables are made of.  Some said that he was a simple machine worker who spent most of his life in New England.  Others, however, said that he was an ill fated former MIT professor who fell into a deep state of depression after having his heart broken.  Donald was known by many names, and would occasionally be referred to by the code name “Mr President.”  Some would also say that he could single handedly be credited with keeping the pay phone market alive in Springfield.

Donald on one of his better days. He was not a patient. He was clean, sober, and enjoying a summer day.

Donald on one of his better days. He was not a patient. He was clean, sober, and enjoying a summer day.

Donald was most well known for his affinity for trivia, especially when it came to geography.  He could recite without hesitation the capital of each of the United States, and many countries throughout the world.  He was a skilled at crossword puzzles and would often contribute to clues that would commonly stump many amateurs while waiting for the arrival of his “extended family members.”  While some might have been frustrated in their interactions with them, Donald was also the recipient of the kindness and generosity of the medical community in the form of breakfast sandwiches, coffees, and the occasional shower and shave.

It is unknown if Donald left any family behind.  He was, however, predeceased by many who had a similar place within the EMS community, namely such legends such as Stephen Donahue and Zoya Shaw.  He is, however, survived by countless paramedics, EMTs, nurses and doctors who’s lives he touched.  Donald leaves behind many memories, and is the subject of some of the greatest stories ever told during after work stress relief sessions or “group posting events” throughout the City of Springfield.

In lieu of flowers, please provide one random act of kindness to a patient who is in a predicament similar to that of Donald’s.  Share a cup of coffee with them, or maybe throw an extra blanket on them to keep them warm.  Just do something nice.

RIP, Big Guy.  We’ll miss you



Donald Spittlehouse (1945 - 2013)

Donald Spittlehouse (1945 – 2013)


  1. Nagles Bagles /

    Wow…I can’t believe it. I always knew it was him instantly when he called 911…if the call takers didn’t answer his trivia correctly, he would refuse transport and sign off with the crew. Then call back 5 min later and continue this trend until the call takers answered his trivia correctly and off to the ER he would go. The BK Lounge will never be the same without you Donald…RIP! Great obit Scott!

    • The French Guy /

      In Donald you saw each of us in one state of happiness or sadness as he was depending on the day. Never at a loss for trivial pursuit I often wondered how he could never solve the puzzle of his addiction and lonliness. I suppose he was sent as a reminder of how far one can fall and hopefully drive us to be better and never find ourselves there. You will be missed “Proffesor” May the goddess guide you now and god walk beside you

  2. Chibsy /

    Wonderful tribute to a soul who touched may lives.Great memories. Let this be a teachable moment too. We run into many Donalds….they should be treated with dignity. RIP Donald.

  3. Spfld Medic /

    Excellent job Scott. I would like to share a story from one of my many meetings with Donald. While still working as a new medic i was well acquainted with Mr. Spittlehouse and I had been working with a well seasoned medic. He called that day because he was hungry and wanted to go to the hospital. While transporting him my partner opened her lunch box and pulled out a PBJ sandwich which she gave to him. His eyes lit up like it was a gourmet Thanksgiving turkey. We rolled him into the ED at Baystate and rolled past the other regulars in the hall way who were envious of his procurement of this “turkey”. Donald proceeded to rip apart a 3rd of his sandwich and share with the two other regulars . A good deed that has no reward, no acknowledgment, no news story on massive (or WGGB). But more it was a reminder that behind those glossy, and at times absent eye’s there was a man with kindness in his heart, an man in a hole so deep he could not escape.

  4. Rent-a-cop /

    The smell of Donald’s piss is still strong in my nostrils.. Sometimes I don’t think it will ever go away, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want it to.. RIP Donald

  5. guest /

    Every time we brought him in he did the cmed report. Hahaha

  6. Cheryl /

    Scott, thank you. I too was very saddened by Donalds passing. He could be a pain…but always was good for me. I do miss his trivia questions…I used to give him the wrong answer just to see him smirk and give a second glance at me and tell me I was wrong. Loved his smirk. He usually was odiferous, and usually with bottle.
    I almost feel as if I lost a family member….I guess in a way I have. Rest well Donald, I do miss ya.

  7. Moses Miller /

    Thank you so much Scott – these people, Stephen, Donald, David – stay with us after the world seems to have forgotten them. Beautifully written and worthy.

  8. Terri /

    Thank you for doing this, much appreciated.

  9. Thank you..many fond memories & conversations w/ Donald. RIP ♡

  10. mariannd73 /

    Great job!! RIP Donald!

  11. ryanne /

    It took 6 months, but paying it forward to someone who seemed so similar in Syracuse was the recipient. He won’t be the last, Donald and the others brought me wisdom, laughs, and sadness when I moved on.

  12. roobarsucks /

    this is just a shame….