Physician reflects on medical career

By Melanie Speicher

SIDNEY — For one physician, a summer internship in Sidney brought him the satisfaction of a medical career in Shelby County.

Dr. Fred Haussman, of Sidney, who is retiring from practice Tuesday, Feb. 28, said he had a choice of internships at hospitals in Piqua or Sidney while he was in medical school in Dayton.

“I grew up in Dayton,” said Haussman as he reflected on his medical career. “I was in my second year of my residency and I had a chance at internship at either the Piqua or Sidney hospital. My wife’s mom grew up in Sidney and her grandma lived two doors down from the hospital.

“So she asked me to take the one in Sidney so she could spend the night with her grandma,” he said. “It was supposed to be one summer (in Sidney) and it led to a 40-plus year career here.”

Haussman joined Wilson Health full time in 1985 in the emergency department. He left emergency medicine in 2017 from Wilson Health and spent time at Wayne Hospital in their emergency room. He then went into the urgent care field from 2018 to 2020. He became a full-time family practice physician for three years with Wilson Health starting in 2020 until his retirement on Tuesday.

“I entered family practice the month the pandemic was declared,” said Haussman. “I was in a learning curve for a new office, new electronic records and they closed the office. We were not inviting the primary care patients into the office.

“So I became the director of the (COVID-19) testing site at the fairgrounds,” he said. “I did that for three months. We worked out of a RV donated by Airstream.”

He returned to his office in April/May.

“It was a bizarre time for all family doctors,” he said. “It was a difficult time for hospitals.”

Haussman said working in family practice is totally different than working in the emergency room.

“I found I was able to build relationships with the patients very quickly,” he said. “It’s a hard job because you have to keep an eye on everything related to the patient in a 15-20 minute time period. There’s been a lot of rewards because of the relationships with the people who are relying on you.”

He said working in the emergency room was fast paced as treatment was determined for the patients he was seeing.

“I wasn’t sure at first if emergency medicine was for me,” said Haussman. “I’d tell my wife all about my night in the ER and I found it was a good fit for me. I liked the practice and the variety. You get to help people and you get results very quickly.

“You get to do a lot of procedures as an emergency room physician,” he said. “‘I enjoyed doing those which were not available in a lot of specialities.”

He said he saw a lot of the same people in the emergency room.

“i knew a lot of the people I was taking care of,” said Haussman. “I’d see them out and about in the community. I’d see them at church or with my kids at school.”

He said his least favorite part of emergency medicine was “seeing the same people” numerous times.

“There were some real tragedies and loss,” he said. “There would be horrific accidents involving people who were part of your community. It’s more intimate when you live in the community where you practice medicine. A lot of hospitals are staff with people who don’t live there. That affects you a little bit more.”

Haussman said his family helped him when he dealt with a tragedy in the emergency room.

He also served the county for eight years as the coroner. He has been the physician for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years. The first sheriff he worked with was Mark Schemmel.

“All the positions are intertwined,” he said. “It’s all been a good fit for me.”

Haussman and his wife, Lisa, purchased a farm in rural Shelby County in 1989 where they raised their three children. Two of his children followed in his footsteps with a medical career. His daughter is a registered nurse in Florida and his son works in a hospital laboratory. His other son works in IT. All three are graduates of Ohio colleges.

“We enjoy taking our ‘granddog’ for ice cream when we’re in Florida,” he said.

Haussman said he doesn’t have a big agenda for his retirement. He plans to do more golfing and fishing.

“I’ll be able to get up and not have to rush out of the house,” he said.

He said he’s thankful for everyone he has worked with throughout the years.

“I’m grateful and blessed to have had my career in Shelby County,” he said. “I’ve worked with excellent nurses and administrators. I’ve been very blessed with my career. I’ve been very fortunate.”

Haussman attended Wright State School of Medicine from 1980-84 and then from 1984-87 he was with the St. Elizabeth Family Practice Residency in Dayton.

After spending the majority of his career in emergency room medicine, he became a full-time family practice physician with Wilson Health.

He was the medical director at Wilson Memorial Hospital Emergency Department from 1989-2017. He was a Premier Physician Services partner from 1997-2014. He also worked at Wayne Hospital as an emergency medicine physician. He’s currently the medical director for the Shelby County Jail.

During his career, he received the Physician of the Year Award from Premier in 2005; and Professional Relationship Physician of the Year from Premier in 2009. He was the Shelby County coroner from 2005-12; Shelby County EMS Medical Director from 1989-2017; was a Wilson Memorial Hospital Board of Trustee member from 2006-16; a member of the Wilson Hospital Foundation Board from 2006-16; and Premier Physician Services Board of Trustees member.