In the headlines..."Pioneering Physician at Auburn Hospital Recalled as an 'Icon'

Posted on: 12/11/2017

Megan Ehrhart Megan Ehrhart - Towns Reporter

Dec 8, 2017 Updated Dec 10, 2017

Auburn Community Hospital recognized a man this week who was an instrumental pioneer in the hospital's development.

Dr. Donald W. Delahanty, who died last month, was recalled in a proclamation that was read at the hospital's annual Christmas dinner.

As the first orthopedic specialist in the area, Delahanty effectively brought orthopedics to Auburn when he arrived in 1956, said Dr. Rick Nangle, a retired physician who worked with Delahanty. Before Delahanty began working at the hospital, all orthopedic care was done by general surgeons.

“He was an icon in the medical community,” Nangle said, adding that not only was Delahanty “instrumental in building up the orthopedics program,” but he was also instrumental in building up other doctors and orthopedic surgeons.

"He was a true gentleman," Nangle said. He worked exceptionally hard, but "you never saw him angry or complaining.

“I would do anything for Donald Delahanty because he did everything for everybody,” Nangle said.

Delahanty served as the hospital's chief of surgery before he retired in 1993. In June of 1996, the hospital debuted a library on the second floor, where the orthopedics unit used to be, named after him: "Donald W. Delahanty, MD, Library." Delahanty was also honored with a "Lifetime Leadership Award" at Auburn Community Hospital's 2013 annual gala.

Dr. Delahanty passed away peacefully at his home on Nov. 4, 2017 in Winchester, Massachusetts. Delahanty lived in Auburn for 60 years, beginning in 1956, according to an obituary submitted to The Citizen. Delahanty was active in his retirement and enjoyed to play tennis, golf, and even went snow skiing at the age of 91. Last year, Donald and his wife, Jacqueline, moved to an assisted living facility in Massachusetts.

Staff Writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at 315-282-2244 or or on Twitter @MeganEhrhart.

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