Eugene G. McCarthy Jr. and his wife built an oceanfront hotel in East Boothbay that still entertains guests from all over the world. But he made an even more lasting mark in the field of health care.

Dr. McCarthy, a longtime resident of East Boothbay, died Tuesday in New York City. He was 76.

His son, John McCarthy of Brunswick, said his father’s efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to change the way health care is delivered in this country earned him the reputation of being the “Father of Second Opinions.”

“The value and acceptance of a second opinion for the diagnosis or an effective treatment for both surgery and medicine as far as the general population of the United States was an unknown,” Dr. McCarthy wrote in a letter that he read to family members during his 75th birthday party. “Organized medicine challenged the data by proselytizing that a second opinion program would be the means to break the physician-patient relationship.”

During the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. McCarthy established a nationwide panel of board-certified physicians for a national referral program for second opinions.

Now, second opinions are widely accepted and often recommended by doctors.

Dr. McCarthy was born in Boston and grew up in Roxbury, Mass. His family’s home was next to a monastery.

Dr. McCarthy’s father introduced his children to Maine. He would put the children in an old Buick and drive to Maine in the summertime, spending many days in a cottage at Cameron’s Point on Southport Island.

After high school, Dr. McCarthy continued his studies at Boston College, the Yale University School of Medicine and John Hopkins University’s School of Public Health and School of International Medicine.

He went on to become a health care administrator, educator and researcher.

President John F. Kennedy chose Dr. McCarthy to be chief medical adviser to the Alliance for Progress, a program that provided medical care for than a million people in Paraguay.

After he returned from Paraguay in 1964, he took an assistant professorship at the Columbia University School of Public Health.

From 1970 to 1977 he was clinical associate professor of public health at Cornell University.

In 1965, Dr. McCarthy and his wife, Maureen, returned to Maine to build the Smugglers Cove Inn in East Boothbay.

They were its innkeepers for 40 years, before selling the oceanfront complex in 2005.

The couple started off small, building a 23-room hotel overlooking Linekin Bay. Over time, they added a restaurant and expanded the hotel to include 60 guest rooms.

In 1967, they built a swimming pool, which at the time was a rarity in Maine, their son said.

The McCarthys even had sand trucked in to create a beach in front of the hotel.

The complex catered to families who wanted to experience the beauty of Maine’s coast.

In 1965, they charged $12 a day for a guest room, his son said.

John McCarthy, who now works as a commercial real estate broker in Westbrook, managed the hotel for years.

His family tried to cater to the needs of the guests, regardless of their wealth or status.

“Our benchmark for success was not measured in dollars, but in smiles,” he said.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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