It isn’t uncommon for sons to follow in their father’s footsteps, but to have not only a father, a son, but also a grandson who all practiced medicine in the same town, that is quite a legacy.
To have the last name of Call and then decide to go into a profession that has you “on call” may seem like an unlikely coincidence, but when you know Dr. Ben and his father Dr. Lloyd Call, you know that being a physician means so much more…
Dr. Ben Call has been a cardiologist in eastern Idaho for over 30 years.
“I wanted to be a physician from the time I was four or five somewhere along in there I did a science fair project on EKGs,” explains cardiologist Dr. Benjamin Call, “so, I’ve always been interested in the heart and always been interested in medicine.”
It’s an impressive career but the Call legacy in healthcare extends even further.
Ben’s father, Dr. Lloyd Call started practicing medicine in Pocatello in 1951, and his father Dr. O.F. Call was one of the first doctors in Idaho. In fact, there’s been a Dr. Call in eastern Idaho for the past 100 years. But beyond practicing medicine is a legacy of medical innovation, some examples as early as when Dr. Lloyd first came to Pocatello.
“It was one of 50 first all-electric EKGs made and I brought that with me,” says retired physician Dr. Lloyd Call, “oh, I just brought it up myself. I bought it in my last year of residency in Utah. And we used it down there. And then when I moved up here, I put it in my car and we came up.”
He then led the creation of a first for Idaho, something that is now an industry standard.
“That was the first Intensive Care Unit in the state of Idaho,” says Dr. Lloyd Call, “and I had to convince them it was something worthwhile. They gave us $16,000.”
And when cardiac medicine was still something people around the country had to travel miles to receive, Dr. Lloyd Call was bringing the latest technology in nuclear imagery to Pocatello even years before the bigger cities.
“I approached either of them, both of them and neither was remotely interested in getting involved in this strange new product,” explains Dr. Lloyd Call, “and it was very expensive at that time. So I went out and purchased it and gave it to the one hospital and I said it will be yours when it’s paid for, and I will send you, I will give you patients as they need it. Well in two years I gave them the title.” I was categorized in the newspaper by my fellow physicians for bringing things to Pocatello that didn’t belong here.”
“Dad’s always been an innovator,” says Dr. Benjamin Call, “he’s always on the cutting edge and he inspires me. I mean, I’ve thought about his example many, many, many times over the years. We practiced together for eight years and to hear these stories and to see the things that he’s done is inspiring.”
It’s an example that has brought inspiration and healing to so many in eastern Idaho. Three generations of physicians that have felt practicing medicine is more than just being called doctor.
“I think my goal in all this would be that when I’m done and gone and past history that I’ll have left this a little better place,” says Dr. Benjamin Call.
There is currently no other children from the Call family coming out of medical school. However, Lloyd has another son, Tom who is a dentist in Pocatello and his son Brandon just graduated from dental school and will be joining his father’s practice. So another Dr. Call legacy in Pocatello may be just beginning.
There will be a celebration of the Call medical legacy and for Dr. Lloyd Call who turned 98-years-old this year. It will be held Friday from 5:00pm until 7:00pm in the lobby of Portneuf Medical Center and the public is invited.
For more information on the celebration, click here.