Fall 2015

Double Job

This pediatrician puts out fires in his spare time

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Dan Hale, a pediatrician, shown here on duty at the firehouse in Kittery, Maine, is equally at home in both worlds. Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Dan Hale, an assistant professor and chief of pediatrics at Lawrence General Hospital, grew up in a large family. His parents encouraged their kids to hold down two jobs to help with expenses if they could. He took the message to heart and now combines his physician life with often-exhausting duties as an on-call firefighter at home in Kittery, Maine.

LAWRENCE, MA - JUNE 8: Dr. Dan Hale checks in on day-old Nazierre Sanchez as he makes patient rounds at Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Mass. on June 8, 2015. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Dan Hale checks in on day-old Nazierre Sanchez during rounds at Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on June 8, 2015. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“By day, he’s a doctor. Nights, weekends and holidays, he’s a firefighter,” Bella English wrote recently in a Boston Globe profile of Hale. “He keeps two pagers on his bedside table. In 2013, he was named Kittery firefighter of the year, and also received the Excellence in Teaching award from the Tufts University School of Medicine.”

Hale seems to be one of the few people anywhere who does both jobs. English contacted the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, which represents some 12,000 members—and as far as it knows, none of its members is a doctor. The whole double-it-up approach may have stemmed from Hale’s childhood in tiny Hartford, Wisconsin, where his grandfather, the town mayor, also fought fires. Hale has an uncle and a cousin who are firefighters, too. Clanging bells have a way of setting this family off.

The common link between medicine and firefighting is simply being of service to others. Hale, a devout Catholic, says that he feels he’s helping his neighbors when he responds to a fire. Not only that, but he loves the spirit of teamwork and camaraderie that he finds in the firehouse.

A spark has landed nearby. Hale and his wife, also a pediatrician, have a 4-year-old daughter, Anna, who tells people she wants to be a nurse and a firefighter when she grows up.

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