Ed Logue, MD is a familiar name to most Alabama healthcare professionals. Logue, who at age 86 still goes into the office every day, has been practicing psychiatry in Birmingham for 50 years. In 1974, he established the psychiatric unit at Brookwood hospital, which grew to a 96-bed clinic. He has been named the Mental Health Professional of the Year; received the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award; named a Distinguished Life Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association and been on the Best Doctors list for the past decade.
This is the Ed Logue, MD that many of us know. What we don't know is the story of how unlikely it is that Logue ever became a doctor in the first place. In fact, it's a miracle that he survived infancy.
Harry Edward Logue was born in a two-room sharecropper's house in rural Georgia. The nearest town had barely 2,000 people. It was 1934, in the depths of the depression. This was a difficult time to provide for a child, but he was a healthy baby until age two when he contracted colitis.
"I went down to skin and bones," Logue said. "One night when my condition got really bad, the doctor came to our house. He examined me and before he left, he told my parents to prepare themselves, that this would be my last night. My parents sat with me, doing everything they could to keep me alive. They talked to me. They rubbed me and they prayed. But I just kept getting worse. They held on, continuing to pray, and finally in the darkest part of the night, they offered my life to God in his service. From that point, I began to recover." Logue paused for a moment and cleared his throat. "Now a chill just shot through my body, remembering that."
When Logue was growing up, education was a scarce commodity. His father had finished the third grade and his mother, the fifth. When he decided to try to go to college, everyone except his parents told him he was over-reaching. Not only was this like going to the moon for most people in town, it was also nearly impossible to pay for. But one small incident, something completely meaningless at the time, changed the whole equation.
"The year before I made the decision, I had a summer job working on highway resurfacing," Logue said. "The job was close to home so it was easy to get there. A flatbed truck picked us up. But halfway through the summer, the camp for the surfacing road moved further away. There were several of us working there and none of us had a car. I was 17 years old. So I went to the bank and talked to Charlie smith, the banker. I told him that if I had a car, I could charge the other guys a dollar a day to ride. He gave me the loan and I bought it 1940 Ford, as a poor kid in high school. I was able to sell the car to get enough money for my first semester of college. If the camp hadn't moved further away, I would have never asked for the car loan and I couldn't have made money, charging the guys."
His father, wanting a better life for him, helped stimulate his desire for education. "My dad did something that no dad would do," Logue said. "In my senior year, 1953, he bought a $400 set of encyclopedias for me, something he certainly could not afford. With that, I read about things that I never dreamed of before. It pushed me towards science. That's where I developed an interest in medical school."
There was a downside, though, to this career choice. "When I told my dad I had decided to go to medical school, he was disappointed because we were breaking the promise to God that I would be a missionary. I said I didn't want to be a missionary and that I could serve God as a doctor," Logue said. "He didn't feel that was enough to honor our vow so, with a third-grade education, he began driving to Macon, 60 miles away, two nights a week to take seminary courses and he became a preacher. I got to hear some of his sermons.
"God has blessed me in so many ways. As I've aged, the things I've learned about spirituality have given me great comfort. Once when I was meditating, I asked God to show me as much as he would allow. From that experience, I've come to see that our mind, as distinct from our brain, is extracorporeal. It is not flesh and blood. It is dark matter and it is indestructible. It records everything about us so when the flesh is gone, it is still there for God's spiritual world. It's a fascinating undertaking to be able to see and understand all that's been given to me."