I had the privilege of attending the funeral service for Paul W. Layden, Sr., M.D. this past Saturday. Dr. Layden was a volunteer at the Barber National Institute for 51 years. When Dr. Layden began, physicians were truly not interested in providing services to children and adults with intellectual challenges. Not Dr. Layden. He gave all the time he could, both personally and professionally.
Several times a month, Dr. Layden came to the Barber Center to see our children and adults who had orthopedic challenges. He would treat anything, from basic limitations in the hands and feet to more serious neck and back impairments. He was interested in each person as an individual. What was their name? Who were their parents? How long had they lived in Erie? And above all, how could he make their lives better?
He had an amazing working relationship with all the clients, and a great conversational style that was immediately calming. His memory for his patients was impeccable… even if he saw someone on an annual basis, he would remember both their personal and medical details. Medically, there was no one who knew more than Dr. Layden; he was an encyclopedia of knowledge. Teacher, mentor, friend, and family man, our clients became part of his family as well.
Did Dr. Layden make a difference? He absolutely did. His contribution to the Barber National Institute was invaluable. I feel truly honored to have worked with Dr. Layden and I know he will be greatly missed.