Douglas Kabbes, MD, looks forward to helping people achieve their highest level of overall health and wellbeing.
He recently joined the medical staff at Family Medical Center in Mattoon, after working in emergency medicine for more than 30 years. Since 1998, Dr. Kabbes served as Medical Director of Emergency Services at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham. “It’s a big change, but I’m looking forward to new challenges,” he said.
Dr. Kabbes is currently caring for people with longtime family physician Gary Mikel, MD, with plans to take over the practice upon Dr. Mikel’s retirement at the end of the year.
In the ER, Dr. Kabbes took care of people of all ages, including those facing the end of life, with every problem imaginable. In his new role, he hopes to have a big impact by establishing partnerships with people to help them prevent, understand and manage illnesses and set healthcare goals. “Family medicine is different than the ER in that way,” he said. “In the ER, I took action and got immediate feedback. As a family physician, I see myself as kind of a counselor to help people achieve better health.”
Dr. Kabbes plans to counsel people to make good lifestyle choices: to eat right, exercise, drink in moderation and not smoke. “My personal philosophy is to make exercise and healthy choices a lifestyle rather than a ‘one-month thing’ to lose weight, for example. I think many things can be addressed, even if they can’t be cured, with a healthy lifestyle – things like hypertension, diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” he said. And Dr. Kabbes walks the talk. He is fit and trim, and he works out for about two hours each morning.
An Effingham native, Dr. Kabbes was the first in his family to go to college, enrolling in the pre-med program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale after high school. He said that the day he learned that he was responsible for paying his own tuition was between “the worst day and the best day of my life.” It drove him to work harder, and he was accepted into SIU School of Medicine at a time when just 35 percent of applicants made the cut. “When you’re vested and your money is on the line, you tend to focus a little bit more fully,” he said, explaining that he worked 60-hour weeks in the summers on the sealer crew for Effingham Asphalt to gather necessary funds.
Dr. Kabbes then completed a three-year family practice residency offered through SIU in Decatur, where he started working in the Emergency Department on the weekends. He was drawn to the fast-paced environment and later worked in various emergency departments in Illinois, including several years at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur and a year as a family practice physician in Marshall, before returning to his hometown hospital in Effingham.
Deciding to become a physician, he said, was the result of “a culmination of several things. I care about people and I want to take care of people.”
Ready for a change, Dr. Kabbes is impressed by the attitude and professionalism he has encountered at Sarah Bush Lincoln. He looks forward to being a doctor that people can count on and trust.