Dr. Eric Scowden has long been on the hunt for improvements in the treatment of kidney disease.
Dr. Eric Scowden, a newly retired nephrologist in Paducah and Paducah Bank patron for 20 years, explains, “Paducah Bank has taken care of our business. They’ve always been there whenever we have needed help.” And just like Paducah Bank has been there for this dedicated doctor, Dr. Scowden has been there for his patients for 24 years.
“I’ve been hunting every day since January 1,” laughs Dr. Eric Scowden (during our interview in February). Dr. Scowden, Paducah nephrologist and a pioneer in kidney care in this area started his year off with a bang. After 24 years of service to Paducah’s medical community, he began his well-deserved retirement in yet another Þeld of endeavor that he loves.
But back to the medicine that has been the driving force in his professional and personal life for nearly a quarter century. Looking back, many attribute dramatic changes to the provision of kidney disease treatment to PaducahÕs Dr. Eric Scowden.
Nephrology is a branch of internal medicine that focuses on the functions and disorders of the kidney. Typical disorders that are treated include hypertension and chronic kidney disease, which could result in a kidney failure. Many patients with acute kidney diseases must undergo dialysis, a treatment method that provides artiÞcial replacement for kidneys that no longer work properly. Kidney transplant can also be a treatment option.
Originally from Vero Beach, Florida, Dr. Scowden completed his undergraduate work at Florida State University. From there he attended Emory University for medical school, and completed his internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship training at Vanderbilt. Dr. Scowden arrived in Paducah in 1985.
When Dr. Scowden came on the Paducah medical scene, kidney care was unsophisticated. “When I came here, there were twelve patients getting dialysis in the basement of Lourdes Hospital. Very few acute dialysis treatments were being performed in the hospital.” For fifteen years, Scowden worked in practice by himself – on call seven days a week and no vacations. His work paid off, and eventually he developed Western Kentucky Kidney Specialists (WKKS).
Drs. Shaukat Ali, Steven McCullough, and Jawad Munir now comprise the practice. “We are the fastest growing practice in Western Kentucky because we are the only providers,” explains Dr. Ali. “We will continue to grow, and we are working on recruiting new doctors.”
WKKS has grown to an impressive number of outpatient dialysis clinics. Seven clinics extend to locations in Metropolis, Murray, MayÞeld, and others. This year, a new clinic will open in Cadiz. “We now have approximately 300 dialysis patients and have had transplants performed on 100 patients,” says Dr. Scowden. WKKS offers the entire spectrum of kidney care, including plasma exchange therapy to treat a variety of unusual diseases. In addition, all physicians at WKKS are adjunct faculty members at the University of Kentucky. Acute dialysis units are now located at both Western Baptist and Lourdes Hospitals. With the establishment of WKKS, those suffering with kidney ailments can rest assured they will receive the best kidney treatment possible.
Dr. Scowden is quick to recognize the virtue of his patients through his years of practice. “I’m impressed with the courage of a person who has to have dialysis three times a week for the rest of their life. It’s obviously not a pleasant experience, but most of them put their best foot forward and maintain a positive attitude,” he says. When asked if he’ll miss medicine, Dr. Scowden says, “I’ll miss the challenge of trying to figure out what’s wrong with a patient, but I’m glad I got to enjoy the growth of our service in this part of the state.” Dr. Scowden has left a true medical legacy in Paducah with WKKS.
Dr. Ali comments, “Nobody can replace Eric Scowden.”
As a retiree, Dr. Eric Scowden plans on spending time with his wife Nancy and their four boys Eric Jr., Brent, Blake, and Sean. In addition to spending time with family, he also plans on hunting, fly fishing, and mowing the grass.