GUNNISON—A local family clinic has seen support from family of its own and the involvement of the community in the process of filling a void left by the beloved, late doctor Dwight Inouye.
Since he passed away on Dec. 29, employees at his office have continued to serve the public amid some adjustments. One is a merger with Gunnison Valley Hospital. Also, Dwight’s son Jordan Inouye, a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.), is working there temporarily to help bridge the gap until Bryce Barton, another D.O., takes over.
“Wade (Anderson, physician’s assistant at the clinic since 2007) and Bryce will continue my Dad’s legacy, the legacy of being able to provide full-scope family practice care in our beautiful Sanpete Valley,” Jordan Inouye said.
Jordan Inouye also worked at the clinic while his parents, Dwight and Jeannie, served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hong Kong in 2014. He even once intended to take over the practice, but that plan changed.
He received his medical training in the Air Force while doing residency in Nebraska.
Next, he spent nearly four years stationed in Japan, which overlapped with the timing of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami there. He said in treating soldiers, he fielded serious emergencies more frequently than he might have as a family practitioner, which has made him a more confident urgent care doctor.
Currently, Jordan Inouye lives in Springville and works part-time at the Intermountain Health Clinic Instacare there. He has committed to working two days a week here in Gunnison until July 2022. At that time, Bryce Barton will complete his residency at McKay Dee hospital in Ogden and plans to work in the Gunnison clinic.
Jordan received his medical training in the Air Force while doing residency in Nebraska. Next, he spent nearly four years stationed in Japan, which overlapped with the timing of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami there.
Jordan says he has great respect for the people of Sanpete Valley and enjoys serving the patients his dad loved. He feels indebted to the clinic staff who dedicated their lives to the Dwight Inouye Family Practice. He is optimistic that with the transition to the hospital’s ownership and operations, excellent patient care will continue for years to come.
Barton, who plans to join the clinic in 2022, is the son of Doug and Marianne Barton of Manti. Marianne started working as a nurse at the Inouye clinic in 2008, just after Wade Anderson started there in December 2007. Bryce’s sister, Shelley Lund, started working as a nurse at the clinic in 2014.
Because Dwight Inouye was the sole proprietor of the business, and the clinic was in his name, it could no longer operate independently after he died. According to clinic manager Evlynn Peterson, who began working with Inouye 40 years ago, the Gunnison Valley Hospital is in the process of taking over ownership and operation of the business.
Now, Inouye clinic staff are employees of the hospital. The clinic also has a new name: Mid Utah Family Practice.
Despite the name change, clinic employees have said the late doctor’s influence has remained imminent in their office.
On a private Facebook page titled, “Remembering Dwight H. Inouye,” physician’s assistant Wade Anderson wrote:
“The other day I was removing a sebaceous cyst and I thought, ‘Dwight taught me how to do this.’ Recently I was treating a complicated patient in the hospital with renal failure and congestive heart failure, and I thought, ‘Dwight taught me how to do this as well.’”
The post continued to reflect on the inspiration and mentorship Anderson received from Dwight Inouye.
“I think if I could summarize his life in one saying or mantra it would be the following: ‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.’”
As Jordan Inouye pointed out, some of those whom his father taught “to fish” will be among the ones to continue his legacy of family healthcare in the Valley.