ROCKFORD (WREX) — A doctor in Rockford is getting attention statewide for more than 4 decades of work.
Dr. John Underwood is honored Thursday with the state’s Lifetime Achievement award for his contributions to pediatric emergency and medical care. Underwood has worked at SwedishAmerican Hospital for the last 30 years, serving as an emergency physician and EMS medical doctor.
“As a pediatrician, I know the importance of recognizing the specific needs of children in emergency situations and that medical care for children may look different from the care for adults,” said IDPH Acting Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “It takes great passion and commitment to provide care and treatment during annual missions trips, and I am honored to award Dr. John Underwood the Ron W. Lee, M.D. Excellence in Pediatric Care Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Under Dr. Underwood’s tenure, SwedishAmerican Hospital achieved its first recognition as an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics. This recognition defines national standards Illinois hospitals must meet regarding capabilities in place to manage the emergency care needs of children. Dr. Underwood made valuable contributions to the recognition process while serving on the Illinois EMSC Quality Improvement Committee for a number of years.
Also, under his direction, SwedishAmerican Hospital’s Paramedic Program became the first nationally accredited program in the region and the second in Illinois. Dr. Underwood is currently involved with the Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program, or Community Paramedic, where he works with a patient’s primary care physicians in smaller communities to improve the quality of health and life.
“Of course, I have the utmost respect for Dr. Underwood and all he has done to serve this
Community,” said Catherine Lewis, MS.IDT, an EMS Applications Analyst with SwedishAmerican Hospital. “He is one of those special people who takes time with people, whether you are his patient or someone who works with him, and makes you feel important.”
Dr. Underwood told 13 WREX how a lot has changed over the years since he first got into medicine.
“The number of people that we save that perished before is staggering so yeah the changes have been astronomical—it’s crazy,” he said.