Dr. Douglas P. Hein Reflects on 33-year Career as he Moves into Retirement

A visitor walking into Dr. Douglas P. Hein’s office may never realize he or she has entered the office not only of an orthopedic surgeon, but also of a two-time national championship lacrosse team member. A visitor may never know that a young Dr. Hein moved into the Jesup area at 33 and 1/3 years old and that he has timed his retirement perfectly after serving patients in this area for another 33 and 1/3 years. But if that visitor takes a moment to inquire, Dr. Hein will gladly share his story.

Growing up in Villa Park, California, as the son of a chicken farmer and homemaker, Dr. Hein knew he wanted to somehow help people. Living in Orange County and a lover of nature, he pondered becoming a park ranger. However, his best friend’s father, an orthopedic surgeon, made a lasting, positive impression on him. So much so, that at the age of 17, having never travelled further east than Denver, Dr. Hein readied himself for his first year at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Completing his undergraduate work in 1971, he stayed on site to continue his education at the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, obtaining his medical degree 4 years later. Always involved in sports growing up, he designed his own elective in the last semester of medical school. He created a course centered on orthopedics for the athlete, which focused on proper training and nutrition in coordination with sports. Having played football, basketball and tennis in high school, it was natural for Dr. Hein to continue into college with football and a sport new to him – lacrosse. Dr. Hein had chosen Johns Hopkins for its pre-med curriculum and ended up with a medical degree and memories of playing on two national championship lacrosse teams. His post-graduate training then began with an internship and residency at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Oakland, California. Doors opened for him as he served as the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as well as a staff surgeon at the U.S. Naval Regional Medical Center in Naples, Italy. He winds down his career in Jesup as an orthopedic surgeon, where he is the former Chief of Department of Surgery and Former Chief of Staff at Wayne Memorial.

When asked what was most rewarding about working in medicine, Dr. Hein says, “To be able to fulfill my original purpose of going into medicine – to help people.” Noting the many changes in medicine and how that care is delivered today, versus 50 years ago when he left California, Dr. Hein notes, “The basics always work. Good medical care requires a proper dialogue with patients in addition to testing.” Of Jesup and Wayne County, Dr. Hein shares, “My patients here show me that there are still good people in the world.” When asked what his future plans hold, Dr. Hein smiles brightly as he thinks about his retirement home in Oregon and replies, “I’m looking forward to figuring it out.”