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Dr. David Maguire shares his journey from the military to a career in medicine

July 10, 2018
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That certainly was the case for Dr. David Maguire, chief medical officer for Baystate Mary Lane Outpatient Center and Baystate Wing Hospital.

“When I enlisted in the U.S. Army, I had never given thought to a career as a physician. But, for whatever reason, the Army decided I would be a medic,” said Dr. Maguire.
“By the time I was discharged from the Army, I had made up my mind to pursue the goal of becoming a physician and began the long process of studying for and applying to medical school, a decision I have never regretted,” he added.

After serving his country, which included deployment to Vietnam, Dr. Maguire graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1978. “I chose to specialize in internal medicine because it crossed over between hospital and office medicine, both of which were of great interest to me,” said Dr. Maguire.

Today, Dr. Maguire is recognized for the outstanding, compassionate care he has provided to thousands of area patients and their families over the past 30 years – both as a primary care physician at his practice in Monson and for visits he often made to elderly patients at local nursing homes. He continues to care for patients in nursing homes in West Brookfield and Palmer, in addition to his busy leadership role, with the help of colleague and advanced practitioner Laura Morris, CNP.

Dr. Maguire’s journey as a physician has led him to the role of administrator, where at Mary Lane and Wing Hospital he works closely with physicians, hospital leadership, and staff to ensure that the highest standards of quality, care, and service are maintained.

Dr. Maguire said his years as a primary care physician served him well to prepare for his current role. “Because my career in medicine has involved working closely in all aspects of care from emergency medicine to inpatient care and from office medicine to skilled nursing facilities, as a leader I can look at things and manage them from a more holistic view of how to best care for our patients and help to eliminate boundaries that prevent access to care,” he said.

It comes as no surprise to those who know the Maguire family that he has inspired two of his children, daughter Madeleine and son Owen, to follow in his footsteps and provide the next generation of health care. Dr. Maguire’s oldest child, Gabrielle, works in the airline industry.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve been interested in medicine, and I had the good fortune of being raised by a father who is an intelligent and compassionate doctor,” said his daughter. “It was my dad’s personal experience, however, along with his encouragement and guidance that influenced me to make health care my career.”

She studied international relations at Georgetown University and went on to become a nurse practitioner through the direct entry program at UMass Worcester, where she received her master of science degree in nursing. While in school, a portion of Maguire’s clinical training was conducted in the emergency department at Baystate Wing Hospital, and following graduation she accepted a part time position there.

“My dad has formed very genuine bonds with his patients, who admire and respect him. I know this for a fact because many have told me so when our paths have crossed in the Wing emergency room,” said Maguire.“Often when I’m working in the ER and patients discover who I am, I am met with delight and questions like, ‘How is your family,’ ‘Please tell your dad I said hello.’ These words are almost always followed by a personal story and testimonial about my father such as, ‘Your father was my wife’s doctor in the nursing home” or “Your dad took care of my wife when she was very sick.’ His patients are so eager to share the impact his care has made on their lives,” she added.

When asked if her dad ever gave her some “fatherly physician advice,” Maguire cited the time she first trained as a nurse. “I remember my dad told me to always ask my patients a question about themselves as a way to learn something about their own personal world something he said would make my practice all the more enriching,” she said.

Similarly, Maguire’s son, Owen, has a passion for medicine and is currently finishing his third year of medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine.

“I entered medicine because I wanted to take care of people like my dad does, and to be there for them when they face health challenges at some point in their lives. When I think about what a doctor should be, I think of my father,” he said.

When asked what he admires most about his father, Owen noted his father is a strong man who has endured hardships in his life, but that they never changed him from the caring person he has always been.

“His strength has allowed him to remain caring and kind, and not to become cynical or upset with the world. He treats others – his co-workers, friends and most of all his family, with respect and honesty and I admire that a lot in my dad. I also respect his ability to simplify complex situations and to solve problems. Looking back, I realize my dad played a larger role than I ever realized in my decision to practice medicine. He showed me that my goal to become a doctor was possible and he gave me the confidence that I could achieve my dream, but on a basic level, he showed me it was possible, and gave me the confidence that I could do it, and do it well,” he said.

The challenges that Maguire said his father faced with dignity and compassion included the loss of his wife, Thérèse, in 2016 after a 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and a father who suffered from debilitating schizophrenia after returning home from serving in the Navy during World War II. Maguire’s father was admitted to a VA Hospital and he and his three sisters were raised by their mother.

“We all face challenges in life, no one is exempt,” said Maguire as he spoke tenderly of the love of his life, his wife Thérèse. The couple, married for 43 years, met as teenagers while attending a dance in Boston where they grew up. Throughout her illness, Therese remained home under the loving care of Dr. Maguire and their three children.

Despite wanting to share his love of medicine with his children, Dr. Maguire noted he never pressed them to follow in his footsteps.

“Empowering your children to tap into their passions and their talents is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, but I never pressed them into healthcare and gave them the freedom to make their own decisions. I think both Owen and Madeleine saw my love for medicine and recognized that it was a challenging, rewarding, and people-oriented profession. And ultimately they were drawn to what it had to offer them,” said Dr. Maguire.