On call: How one Edward-Elmhurst Health doctor is giving back to the community

March 17, 2020 | by Mary Lou Mastro

Every Thursday afternoon, Dr. Ken Kavanaugh with Edward Medical Group (EMG) in Sandwich spends hours taking care of a special group of patients.

When he leaves his EMG office, he heads to the Kendall County Community Food Pantry, where he sees more patients at a free medical clinic he started in April 2014 with his wife, Cathy.

“We love it,” Dr. Kavanaugh says. “It’s amazing how many lives we touch and how many great people we’ve met along the way, both patients and some amazing volunteers.”

Dr. Kavanaugh sees five to 10 patients each Thursday. Since the clinic opened, they’ve had more than 1,000 visits from more than 300 unique patients.

Over the years, they have encountered people who can’t afford their medicine — or any healthcare services.

The clinic recently received a $10,000 grant from the state of Illinois to purchase medication for their patients.

“We’ve treated patients with diabetes, hypertension, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Mainly what you’d see at a normal family practice,” Dr. Kavanaugh says. “But I tell you, there are some amazing stories that have gone through Edward Hospital with care that’s been provided for free.”

The best part, Dr. Kavanaugh says, is the support he receives from his co-workers at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

From the beginning, he’s leaned on his colleagues for everything from supplies to medication to surgery.

“I’ve never had a specialist say, ‘I can’t do that kind of thing,’” Dr. Kavanaugh says. “Every specialist, administrator, radiologist, anesthesiologist, phlebotomist, pathologist, nurse, X-ray tech has answered the call to serve those less fortunate.

“We have been blessed to see humanity at its best.”

Giving back to our community is always a priority, and Dr. Kavanaugh embodies that spirit. He and his wife are selflessly serving others with compassion, care and love, and there is no greater gift to give.

It’s an honor to assist and support their efforts, and no surprise to me that our wonderful staff and physicians at Edward-Elmhurst Health have been doing just that.

Learn more about Edward-Elmhurst Health's community benefit.

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