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Niles surgeon joins Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital

Published 6:40pm Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dr. Carl Whitt was officially welcomed to Dowagiac with Borgess Lee Medical Group Tuesday evening with a reception at Wood Fire. (Daily Star photo/JOHN EBY)
Dr. Carl Whitt was officially welcomed to Dowagiac with Borgess Lee Medical Group Tuesday evening with a reception at Wood Fire. (Daily Star photo/JOHN EBY)

By JOHN EBY

Niles Daily Star

DOWAGIAC — Borgess Lee Medical Group welcomed Dr. Carl Whitt to its practice Tuesday evening with a reception at Wood Fire Italian Trattoria.

The surgeon, a Fort Wayne, Ind., native who practiced medicine in Niles for 25 years, is available to perform a wide range of general surgery and outpatient surgical procedures at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital.

“We are very pleased to have Dr. Whitt on board,” said Joy Strand, administrator and chief operating officer of the Dowagiac hospital. “His background, experience and compassionate approach to care delivery will complement our growing surgical expertise.”

A graduate of Wright State University School of Medicine, Whitt, 57, received residency training in general surgery at St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center in Youngstown, Ohio.

Prior to Borgess Lee Medical Group, he worked in private practice and other area community hospitals.

Whitt, who lives in Niles, is an associate fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Whitt is no stranger to Dowagiac.

He was Second Baptist Church’s choice March 19, 2005, to succeed Henry C. Smith after 32 1/2 years.

He had been Second Baptist’s associate pastor since 1998.

Rev. Smith had been at Second Baptist since June 1972 in a 40-year career.

He and his wife, Dr. Jean O. Smith, both served on the school board and guided the local NAACP branch.

Whitt served in that role about a year and is now associate pastor at Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

Called to preach in 1986 in Youngstown, Ohio, he resisted that call until March 13, 1995.

“There was a long time in between when I heard God calling me to preach and when I accepted it. During that seven or eight years I learned who’s the head of my life. I was going to be a great doctor and wouldn’t have time for other stuff,” Whitt told the Dowagiac Daily News in 2005, “but during that period I was one of the most unhappy people you’d ever want to see. I’d walk around smiling on the outside,” but inside he felt “empty. God brought it to a point where I understood it was not an option. Now I’m happy.”

Born Dec. 8, 1952, in Fort Wayne, he played on the 1970 city football champions and graduated from Fort Wayne Central High in 1971.

Whitt earned a bachelor’s degree in 1975 from Indiana University in Bloomington and a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Purdue University in West Lafayette.

He completed medical school at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio, in 1982.

Whitt fulfilled residencies in general surgery and vascular surgery at St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center in Youngstown, Ohio, from July 1, 1981, through June 30, 1987.

He has had staff positions in general and vascular surgery and gastrointestinal endoscopy at Lakeland Regional Health System, St. Joseph’s Medical Center in South Bend, Ind., and at Lee Memorial.

Whitt served as president of the Berrien County Medical Society in 1994.

Medicine is another way to help people. “My life has been a life of service,” Whitt said. “That’s what turns me on. As a physician, it just happens to be an occupation. As a minister of the gospel, it’s a vocation. They both have one thing in common — service — and I enjoy that.”

Whitt lists golf, fishing and camping as hobbies.

He has four daughters, Terennia R., Leha Dee, Christian Lynae and Erin Diann, born between 1971 and 1985.

Whitt is seeing new patients at Borgess Lee Medical Group’s Surgical Services office at 515 Main St., Dowagiac. To make an appointment or to learn more, call (269) 782-2273.

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