If those who bring shelter, care and hope to the most vulnerable in our community do not serve those in need, who will?

It’s a question I’ve been considering as Mercy Hospital celebrates its 100 years of serving the community. I think about how so many of my colleagues, including beloved Mercy pediatrician Dr. Harry Davis, have improved the lives of many in the Portland area and shaped my career.

A Portland native who returned here to practice after he received his medical training at Tufts in 1919, Dr. Harry kept an office at the bottom of Munjoy Hill from the early 1920s, when he began his practice, until his death in 1963.

His commitment to Portland’s children was legendary. During the Depression, he spent his own money to ensure that every child in Portland was vaccinated, a practice he continued long after the economy rebounded. He served as the Portland city physician as well as the team doctor to many high school sports teams.

He held a close bond with the Sisters of Mercy, especially with longtime Mercy administrator Sister Mary Annunciata Quigley. As the first chair of pediatrics, a position he held from 1943 until his final days of practice, his influence on the hospital leadership, physicians and staff was as significant as his contributions to the community.

Not only was Dr. Harry my pediatrician almost 80 years ago, but he was an inspiration to pursue my career in medicine. I remember him for his integrity and commitment to serving others, qualities still very much a part of the Mercy family in its centennial year.


Dr. Harry’s legacy continues through his family. His daughter Patricia Davis Klingenstein, together with her husband, John, and their children, have made significant contributions to children’s health care in Maine, including the From the First Tooth initiative, focusing on the oral health of Maine children from birth to age 4, and the creation of Mercy’s Dr. Harry E. Davis Pediatric Center. At the recent centennial celebration, Mercy announced a $2.8 million capital campaign gift from the Klingensteins in honor of Dr. Davis.

I think he would be pleased to see Mercy rise up to meet the changing health care needs of our evolving world. The McAuley Residence, where women can live with their children while getting treatment for addiction, and Gary’s House, where families can stay while their loved ones are being treated at local hospitals, are lifelines to our neighbors in need. And he would embrace the bold vision of One Mercy, which will solidify Mercy’s role as the Portland area’s community hospital for the next century.

Medicine has changed considerably since Harry Davis spent his days serving Maine’s children, but one thing remains unchanged: His compassion for serving the community and the most vulnerable among us continues to live on every day at Mercy Hospital.


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