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Dr. Kenneth Hill dies suddenly Saturday

Published: 9:18 AM, 07/20/2010

Author: Duay O'Neil
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-Funeral services for Dr. Kenneth Hill, well-known local physician, will be held at 8 p.m. tonight at Manes Funeral Home.

Hill, 55, died suddenly Saturday after becoming ill while on a camping trip in Weaverville, North Carolina.

At the time of his death he was associated with Smoky Mountain Home Health and Hospice as Hospice Medical Director.

A native of Kentucky, Dr. Hill came to Newport in the 1980s following his graduation from the University of Louisville and entered into practice with the late Dr. Glen C. Shults and the late Dr. Fred M. Valentine, Jr.

Following the death of Dr. Shults and the retirement of Dr. Valentine, Dr. Hill then was a partner with Family Practice for 15 years, working both in Newport and White Pine.

He next served as Medical Director of Mariner Health Care (now Newport Health and Rehabilitation Center) for several years, before turning his attentions to hospice and bereavement care.

For over three years, Hill had been the Hospice Medical Director of Smoky Mountain Home Health and Hospice.

His duties there included attending hospice care planning meetings with the company's various offices, making personal home visits to patients in their private homes, nursing homes, or other places of residence, and working with the patients' family physician.

For some, he served as their primary care physician. He reviewed patients' care plans and served as a patient's advocate.

"His expertise in treating the terminally ill was a valuable resource to the patient, family, and hospice employees in improving the quality of their care and frequently provided end-of-life care seminars to the public as well as to the medical community," said Tammy Francis, SMHH&H owner.

"Dr. Hill was such a valuable part of our team," she continued. "It is hard to put into words the loss we have experienced. Our agency was one of the few that realized that having an in-house Hospice Medical Director on our staff as a valuable resource to the patient.

"Patients had needed this service, and we were blessed to have Dr. Hill with us to provide it. Our vision is to try to give patients what they need in the last stages of their lives, and he was a perfect choice because of his geriatric skills and his love of hospice care. His death leaves a deep void in our agency as well as in our medical community."

Dr. Patti Ketterman, President of Baptist Hospital of Cocke County, echoed Francis.

"Dr. Ken Hill was an active and well-respected member of Baptist Hospital of Cocke County Medical Staff. He was a compassionate physician who had a great personality, a positive attitude, and a wonderful ability to work well with others.

"Dr. Hill cared about his patients and was always willing to go the extra mile to help them. This is a tremendous loss for our community, and I, along with our staff, will truly miss him."

In addition to his work, Hill also was active in numerous community affairs and organizations.

Among these is the recently reorganized Cocke County Senior Advisory Council.

"We were very honored to have him on our first council in many years," said Cocke County Senior Center Director Carlene Robinson on Monday. "We valued his input and insight because of his extensive work and experience with our senior citizens. We are saddened at the suddenness of his death and extend our deepest sympathy to his family."

Hill was currently a member of the Cocke County Leadership Class of 2010.

Class facilitator Steve Tweed commented, "When the Leadership Class of 2010 first met at their retreat this past March, Dr. Hill made it clear to his fellow class members that he was 'Ken.' We all got to know him on a personal level and learned of his passion for the people of Cocke County and our gorgeous mountains. Obviously the class is heartbroken as we have lost a friend, a class member, and a wonderful man."

Speaking on behalf of Family Practice, Dr. David Kickliter spoke of his colleague as a "very compassionate, down-to-earth physician. He was particularly good working with our elderly patients and possessed a great wit and sense of humor. He loved the outdoors and exercise."

Dr. Rich Lloyd will officiate at tonight's services which are under the direction of Manes Funeral Home.


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