Balloons and congratulations greeted anyone going through the colorful halls of the Leitchfield Pediatric Clinic on Tuesday, Aug. 2, as Dr. Joseph Lee’s staff, fellow doctors, patients, and family helped the doctor celebrate the 40th Anniversary of opening his practice.
It’s been 40 years since Dr. Lee and his wife, Nadyne Lee, an advanced pediatric nurse practitioner, opened up the first pediatric clinic in Grayson County across the street from the old Grayson County War Memorial Hospital in August 1976.
“I put in lots of charts so nobody was nervous about being the first patient,” said Nadyne Lee about that first day at the clinic, where they saw 17 new patients.
Dr. Lee practiced solo for 17 years, until he decided to get a partner in the office.
“During the first 17 years, it was just him and me,” said Nadyne Lee.
His wife worked in the office for about 30 years, running the business part of the office for the last 10 years, until she retired while also writing advisory articles in the Grayson County News-Gazette and writing for Louisville’s Today’s Woman and Today’s Family magazines.
Today is a complete change from those first days, with the office having been moved inside the Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center and the name changing to Leitchfield Pediatric Clinic, where children who first came to Dr. Lee now bring their own children to him as adults.
“We’ve seen lots of kids, probably 30- or 40,000 children and lots more visits,” said Dr. Lee.
Many old and new patients came on Tuesday to congratulate and celebrate Dr. Lee’s work with the children of Grayson County. They enjoyed cake, cookies, and drinks in Dr. Lee’s office from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Visitors left on a table cards and gifts for Dr. Lee where a board of memories sat, while anyone who was ever a patient of Dr. Lee could put a thumbprint on a painting that showed how many lives the pediatrician has touched.
“My son was one of his first patients. He’s a good doctor,” said Brenda Oller, who came to congratulate Dr. Lee.
All of this was a surprise to the doctor, as his staff kept him in the dark about the celebration until that morning when he came in.
“I thought we’d have lunch or something,” said Dr. Lee. “I didn’t expect all this.”
The celebration extended throughout the week, as, on Thursday, Aug. 4, Leitchfield Mayor William Thomason presented and surprised Dr. Lee with a Key to the City of Leitchfield that morning in his office.
Thomason’s proclamation presenting the Key to the City states that “Dr. Lee has spent 40 years of attending to the children in Grayson County, with his practice currently having over 8,000 patients, and he is also presently caring for his third generation of some families.”
In addition to running his clinic, Dr. Lee is an active member of the Grayson County community, serving on “various committees and boards including the Grayson County Board of Health, Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center Hospital Board, the Kentucky Pediatric Society, and is active at St. Joseph Church,” according to the proclamation given on Thursday morning.
The parents of the doctor’s patients agree that Dr. Lee deserves the recognition for his 40 years of practice.
“He’s the best,” said Megan Forsythe, a former patient who is taking her daughter, Marcy Forsythe, who was born last Thursday, July 28, to Dr. Lee.
Grayson County thanks and congratulates Dr. Lee for returning to his hometown 40 years ago to fulfill a lifelong dream.