Dr. E.G. Cline saw his first patient in La Follette on Tuesday, March 12, 1974

By Jim Freeman

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Today marks a milestone for a man who continues devoting his career and life to Campbell County. However, all Dr. E.G. Cline wanted to do last week was to drop off a “thank you” note at WLAF to be passed on to the community, a thank you for 50 wonderful years.

We could not just leave it there, because from delivering babies to manning the emergency room to serving as medical examiner, Cline has probably come in contact with most every family in the community for the last half-century.

TOP PHOTO: (Left to right) Matthew Cline, Allison Willoughby, Sarah Cline, E.G. Cline, Tracy Wright and Jason Carson.

“I knew East Tennessee, and I guess I was just meant to be a country doctor,” said Cline. The Vanderbilt and UT Memphis Medical School graduate was born at Chattanooga, spent his grade school years in the Nashville area and finished junior high and high school back in Chattanooga. He is Tennessee through and through.

It was likely his two years in the U.S. Army and heavy Chattanooga smog that set the stage for a career in LaFollette. “I was drafted as a doctor during the Vietnam War and was at Fort Polk, Louisiana, spending a lot of time at smaller emergency rooms,” said the affable Cline.

Those small emergency rooms had grown on him, but he was not a fan of Chattanooga’s smog. So, after finishing his duty in the Army, he had offers in Los Angeles, Houston and La Follette. “As a courtesy to my school mate Dr. Ron Hall, I came to LaFollette not thinking I would stay,” said Cline. The quality of the then LaFollette Community Hospital pleasantly surprised Cline, and, in large part, was key in his staying. The nursing staff was also very good, according to Cline.

Cline calls off the names of the physicians in his early days as if it was 1974; M.L. Davis, John Pryse, John’s father, Lee Seargeant, Jim Farris, Burgin Wood and James Crutchfield. “I started here with Wood and Crutchfield in their office, now a closed pharmacy building on the corner below the hospital. Dr. Farris and I were the first to move into the newly constructed medical arts building. Dr. Hall joined me in 1978 and soon doctors Jim Giles and Aubrey Isham arrived,” said Cline.

The nursing staff here was and is very good, and Wood and Crutchfield were outstanding surgeons. For a small town, we had and have exceptional medical care, according to Cline.

“I thank the community, Sarah and I both, for accepting me at a time when people would stop me and shake my hand for coming to LaFollette to be a doctor. You can’t beat the Powell Valley scenery, just a wonderful valley, mountain landscape. We’ve had a fruitful life here, and there are such good people here,” said Cline.

This is not a goodbye. Today is just the marking of Cline’s 50th year. “I’m an active physician, board certified, and I’m still taking my tests,” said Cline, who, until December, was the chief of staff at the Jellico Hospital.

On this memorable day for Campbell County, Dr. Elijah Grady Cline, Jr., this community also thanks you. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/12/2024-6AM)

2 Replies to “After 50 years, the doctor is still in; E.G. Cline, that is”

  1. Thank you Dr. Cline for your service to our community. You delivered my daughter, Brandi (Jones) Forrester in June 1979. She was very vocal then. She’s still vocal now… 🙂 Soon to be 45!

  2. Thank you Dr Cline for your service here in Campbell County. It was a pleasure to work around you and your dedication. Working in EMS for 15 years you and the other doctors that worked in the Emergency Room was very instrumental in helping me learn more to help the people that I brought into the Emergency Room. Congratulations for 50 years !

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