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 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