Monday , March 13, 2017 - 10:21 AM
OGDEN — Douglas P. Felt's interest in medicine was kindled by watching his mother suffer from crippling rheumatoid arthritis and dying from complications when he was a teenage boy.
His interest continued to peak from the example his father in-law, O. Marvin Lewis, set.
“He was a childhood hero of mine,” Felt said. “I admired his tireless service and cheery disposition. I thought I would like to be a physician and pilot like him, so I did both.”
Felt, an ophthalmologist, has been chosen as the Weber County Medical Society's Doctor of the Year. He was honored at a dinner and award ceremony earlier this month at the Timbermine Steakhouse in Ogden.
“He is an amazing doctor. Very quiet, well-trained, knowledgeable and charismatic. He is a very personable man and family-oriented. He is giving without recognition and humble, and he is very dedicated to the medical profession,” said Kay Hardy, executive director of the Weber County Medical Society. “At our executive board meeting in the fall, we talk about a lot of doctors and make a list of possible candidates. Dr. Felt’s name was suggested and discussed, and it was just overwhelming to everyone that he should be our nominee for 2017.”
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Hardy said Felt, who retired in June 2016, was a popular physician in the community.
Clinton resident Janet Beesley VanderStappen said her husband John was involved in an accident in which a bolt flew into his eye.
“He went to Dr. Felt and found out his eyelid was lacerated and his retina had detached. Dr. Felt did microscopic surgery and saved John's eyesight,” she said. “He also told John if he had waited much longer to come to the doctor, he would have lost the sight in that eye. We have always been grateful that John went to him.”
Alice Ryan Weil, of Ogden, said she and her husband, her parents and siblings all went to Felt for eye care. She said she was sorry to see him retire and said he will be sorely missed.
CaroLee Bell Arscott, formerly of Ogden and now a St. George resident, said she was happy to hear he has been chosen as Doctor of the Year.
“That's a wonderful honor. He was my (church) bishop when my daughter died. He and his wife were amazing to me during that time,” she said. “He is a wonderful man and has contributed much to the people of Ogden by his unselfish service, time and care to many of us.”
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Fourth-grade students at Shadow Valley Elementary School also participated in honoring Felt by writing an essay about doctors. The top three essays, written by Lily Ankrum, Rustin Reddish and Boston Smith, were read during the award ceremony.
“Doctors do many wonderful things. Some of the thing my doctors done are, helped me, my dad, and they keep you distracted,” Boston wrote. “When my dad was on a motorcycle trip with his friends, he fell then he came home. The next day, he went to the hospital. We found out that he broke his back. The next week, he came home. The doctor kept in contact with my dad.”
Rustin said doctors do many wonderful things, including identifying allergies, helping to deliver babies and offering you soda.
“The first reason I think doctors are wonderful is because they find out what you are allergic to. If doctors did not, I would probably be dead right night.”
Lily said doctors repaired her broken ankle and performed life-saving surgery on her sister.
“Also, they saved my mom's life when she got in a car crash,” she said.
Felt was born at the old Dee Hospital in Ogden. His mother's family were Ogden pioneers. Her grandfather, Matthew Sandefur Browning, was mayor of Ogden and one of the founding brothers of Browning Brothers Company, also known as Browning Arms. His father moved to Ogden after World War II to open Felt Auto Parts Company.
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Felt, who attended Ogden city schools, was in the last year of the split schedule at Ogden High School, which was done to accommodate overcrowding by the baby boomers.
Felt was accepted into medical school at the University of Utah and went on to complete an internship at LDS Hospital and his residency and fellowship in ocular plastic surgery at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center.
“I was the first fellowship-trained ophthalmologist practicing full time in Utah, north of Salt Lake City,” Felt said. “I chose ophthalmology because the head of ophthalmology at the University of Utah at that time, Dr. Henry J.L. Van Dyke, was kind and encouraging to me.”
Felt practiced his specialty at Country Hills Eye Center in South Ogden until his recent retirement. His credentials are several pages long and include numerous published papers, humanitarian medical missions to Bulgaria and El Salvador, humanitarian missions for the Air Life Flight and Angel Flight organizations, and medical leadership positions. He also has a commercial pilot's license.
During his career, Felt said he saw many changes and advancements in his specialty.
“Cataract surgery when I began my training was a large incision surgery. Lens implants were just beginning to be used. All patients were hospitalized for several days,” Felt said. “Now, the incisions are very small, the lens implants are much better and the technology to remove the cloudy lens is much improved.”
In addition, Felt said the surgery is now done on an outpatient basis. Other advances include treatment for the cornea and retina.
Felt and his wife, Shelley, have six children, 17 grandchildren and two dogs. Now that he's retired, he and his wife are serving a mission in Ogden for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as volunteering at the Seager Memorial Clinic at the Ogden Rescue Mission. He's also involved in bicycling, hiking and skiing.
“I am grateful to receive this award because I love the medical profession,” he said. “But I am mostly grateful to be a part of such a great medical community in Ogden. We have wonderful doctors, nurses and ancillary support and Weber State University has a tremendous health professions program.”
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