Philip J. Doherty, MD

Philip J. Doherty, who grew up in St. Peter’s Parish in Dorchester and went on to become a popular and highly respected cardiologist at Milton Hospital, died Wednesday at his Milton home.

Dr. Doherty had been suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The eldest of 8 children of Boston Police officer John Joseph Doherty and his wife Mary, Doherty was afflicted with rheumatic fever which left him hospitalized for long stretches of his childhood. This seeming misfortune however, planted in him a lifelong love of reading, mathematics, and ultimately, led him into medicine and cardiology. It would also greatly influence the type of doctor he would become known as, one who was appreciative of the nursing staff and personally attentive to his patients. After graduating from Boston Latin School and then Boston College, Doherty attended Georgetown Medical School. He graduated cum laude in 1963, and as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Society. It was also at Georgetown where he met Patricia Fountain, a nursing student who would become his wife.

After completing his medical residency at Georgetown and his cardiology fellowship at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, he was invited to join the Medical Center’s full-time faculty as an Assistant Professor of Cardiology. In 1971, now with a family of four children, Dr. Doherty returned to Massachusetts to run the training program at Carney Hospital in Dorchester. He began his own highly successful practice at Milton Hospital in 1977.

Over the next 33 years, Dr. Doherty would serve as Chief of Cardiology and then Chief of Medicine at Milton Hospital, and on the Board of Directors for the hospital. He was a frequent lecturer on issues related to cardiovascular health and received numerous awards for his distinguished service, including the Lira Family Award for Physician Excellence in 2000 and the M. Vassar Pierce M.D. Award Honoring Physician Excellence in 2003.

Throughout his career, Dr. Doherty was known and beloved by his many patients not only for the high quality of care he provided, but for his kindness and accessibility. Dr. Doherty considered his long-time staffers, Virginia Doyle, Donna Ducette, and Natalie Cappelletti, extended family. He was also a favorite of the Milton Hospital nursing staff, with whom he worked very closely. Dr. Doherty greatly valued and respected and the nurses’ contributions to patient care.

While every patient’s problems were treated with the utmost professionalism, it was an open secret that Dr. Doherty showed special concern to any malady that negatively affected a patient’s golf game. He was himself an avid golfer and longtime member of the Wollaston Golf Club.

Despite his professional accomplishments, Dr. Doherty took the greatest pride in his own family. He adored his wife Pat, and was a devoted father to Maureen E. Towle of Hyde Park, Erin A. Daly of Walpole, John P. of Atlanta, GA and James P. Doherty of Knoxville, TN. He treasured any time spent with his sisters and brothers, Mary Cormier of Sandwich, Ellen Platt of CA, Sheila Scannell of Walpole, Jean Neiswand of NJ, Joseph of Billerica, Daniel of Arlington and Thomas Doherty of Pembroke. Dr. Doherty found absolute joy in each of his eleven grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Saint Elizabeth Church, Milton, on Monday, June 13 at 11:00 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited. Visiting hours in the Dolan Funeral Home, 460 Granite Avenue, Milton, on Sunday June 12, 3 – 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Dr. Doherty’s memory to the Milton Hospital Development Fund, Highland Street, Milton, MA 02186.