Fairhope doctor celebrates 40 years of
medical care in the community

By Lindsay Mott | AL.com Contributor
on April 23, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Dr. Fred Diegmann is celebrating 40 years of medical practice in Fairhope.  He was the first OB-GYN physician to practice in Baldwin County. (Courtesy Lauren Walker)

Dr. Fred Diegmann became the first OB-GYN to practice in Baldwin County 40 years ago.  And, after all those years, he never tires of looking at his patients as a whole and trying to do everything he can for them.

Diegmann began practicing in Baldwin County in 1974.  He said he could have gone anywhere, but a mentor, Barbara Spier, encouraged him to focus on the area because of the need for this type of physician.

“I was just bold,” he said.

Diegmann said that the other doctors at the time, including the family practice doctors, welcomed him and that has turned into a true partnership with all accompanying fields.

When he opened his practice, equipment, such as ultra sound and fetal monitoring machines, was not available, but this, and the number of doctors, has changed.  The system now has 13 ultrasound machines and 10 OB-GYN physicians, he said.  They see patients from all over the county including Atmore, Bay Minette, Foley, Gulf Shores and more, and Diegmann was adamant that it is not about him but about everyone that works in the area.

He said the “well-respected OB department” gets great support from the anesthesia staff, other area doctors like family practice and pediatrics, and that all the nurses are excellent.  He also said that the administration at Thomas Hospital is very supportive of the department and that the hospital is a “Mecca” for attracting specialists in all fields to the area.

Diegmann has worked sometime alone and sometimes with a partner, and he joined up with Dr. Bret Hednerson last July.  He said that adding Henderson as a partner was one of the best things he’s done lately.

Though Diegmann recently turned 71 he doesn’t see retirement in his future and has no idea what he would do if he did retire.

“I love doing what I do,” he said, adding that the best thing about being in obstetrics is “the joy of new families.”  His faith is very important to him, and he said that he encourages new families with the verse James 1:17.

He said that he had the opportunity to do any kind of medicine but “what I do best is obstetrics, delivering babies.”  He said the key to success is knowing what you do well and knowing when to refer to someone else.

“I am so grateful that I am in OB,” he said. “It has been so rewarding.”

Diegmann said that he has seen people’s hurts, pains, and joys and that he has come to learn over the years that “people are the same everywhere.”  He has also learned to see each patient as “a privilege and an opportunity.”

Diegmann also credits his family, which is his wife Debbie and his three “precious” children, one of whom is currently serving as a Green Beret in Afghanistan, in supporting him over the years.

Moving forward, Diegmann is excited for the future of the field. He said that Thomas Hospital is working on a renovation of the OB department that will have a bigger nursery, more labor and delivery suites, more post-partum beds and a second operating suite.  It will be like a brand new department when they’re done, according to Diegmann.

To honor Diegmann’s longevity in the field and his being the first in the area, the mayor of Fairhope proclaimed a Dr. Diegmann day on March 20 alongside an anniversary event.  The ever-humble Diegmann said it was nice to be appreciated but then put the emphasis back on others.

He’s just focused on doing as much as he can for each patient and doing it in a certain way: “joyful, that’s the reputation I have.” And it shows in everything he does.

 

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