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Thursday, January 21, 2016

A beloved Cole Memorial doctor retires after 40 years

Celso Backes, MD, board-certified OB/Gyn
Coudersport, PA—For over 40 years, board-certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist (OB/Gyn) Celso Backes, MD has provided health care to thousands of women and delivered over 7,000 babies in the north-central region of Pennsylvania.

Sitting in his office at the Women’s Health Center at Cole Memorial, Dr. Backes said, “People have treated me so nice here. I’ve seen a lot of changes at Cole -- I practiced during four CEO tenures, more than 70 doctors arriving and leaving and several building additions.”

In 1965, Dr. Backes graduated from medical school at the Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil and began his medical career in his native country before completing a residency at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

After operating a successful OB/Gyn private practice in the borough of Coudersport, he began working in 1975 for Cole’s CEO William O’Connors.

Cole Memorial’s current President & CEO Ed Pitchford said, “Cole Memorial is well respected throughout the region because of physicians like Celso Backes who epitomizes the words “dedicated”, “gentleman” and “professional”. On behalf of the entire Cole Memorial family and the women of our region who were his patients, we extend our sincere thank you to Celso on his much deserved retirement.”

His many years of dedicated service and compassionate care will be missed by many.

Healthcare providers that knew him for a long time, such as Cole Memorial’s Chief of Medical Staff Brenda Wahlers, MD, added, “Dr. Backes is a legendary physician. I hope to always be able to work as hard and as long to take such wonderful care of patients. He has always provided expert care with grace and kindness. He has touched thousands of lives during his career. It's amazing really. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to know him and to work on the same medical staff with him.”

Celso has also formally and informally led the Medical Staff at Cole Memorial over the past five decades. In 2013, Cole Memorial’s Board nominated him for the hospital’s esteemed Honorary Director group.

Although Mazen Fouany, MD, OB/Gyn, is a recent colleague at Cole Memorial, he expressed the following sentiment, “I had the pleasure to work with such a gifted, caring, knowledgeable physician for more than three years. Dr. Backes is a great surgeon one of the best I’ve worked with; he’s very academic. This will be a great loss. I look at him and see a great mentor and great friend. Words cannot describe my appreciation and respect. He is the physician that I want to take care of my family.”

Others that worked with Dr. Backes said he was much more than another physician at Cole.

According to Kori Galloway, a Registered Nurse (RN) at Cole Memorial’s OB/Maternity Unit, “Dr. Backes has the most integrity of any individual I have ever worked with. The respect I hold in my heart for this man is more than any other I have ever had for another individual. He always treated every single patient with the same care. This man is a true Christian and all his practices in life reflected this. He has been for the past 18 years, my guidance counselor in life. He taught me more than I could ever read in a book about the profession of medicine. Not only did he clinically teach daily, but he also taught about finances, relationships, healthy lifestyle, parenting, and in general good moral character as a human being. 

I will miss him more than any words can describe, and I have been so thankful and blessed to have worked with him. I remember a per diem nurse moonlighted from another hospital with us for a short time. She mentioned several times to me, how blessed we are to have a Doctor like Dr. Backes as our primary co-worker. She said we were "spoiled". I have numerous memories throughout the years with this man in the throes of life and death situations, dramatic events at work, as well as wonderful easy, normal childbirth processes. I know after every single delivery, he always said "God Bless you and Congratulations." to every patient. He showed no favorites, he cares for the purpose of caring. We all love him!”

Rhonda Pantuso, RN, also shared her experience as his co-worker in Cole Memorial’s OB/Maternity Unit, “When I became a nurse I never dreamed I would have such a close working relationship with a physician. Dr. Backes has made me, I believe, the nurse I am today. He is a wonderful educator, no matter what the circumstance is he believes you can learn something from it. "Treat everything as an emergency so you are ready when one really happens", he always said. I always felt comfortable when we were presented with a challenging situation, if Dr Backes was here it would be okay! He also believed as co-workers, we take care of each other. Lean on each other for support no matter what is going on. He has become a wonderful friend. This community has been very blessed to have such a dedicated physician. His presence will be greatly missed.”

When asked what advice he had to offer a young physician entering a medical practice, Dr. Backes said, “Medicine is a science, but it’s also an art. You may have two patients with the exact same diagnostic problem, but you might need to treat them in a different way. Everyone reacts to things differently.”

Dr. Backes saw his last patient on December 29, 2015.

“I want to express my gratitude to all my patients who have demonstrated thanks to me with all their cards and calls. I feel undeserving,” said Backes, adding he also thanks the nurses he worked with. “Many times they brought my attention to the signs of problems patients were developing. They made my work more easy. And thank you to my colleagues who are always present when I need their consultations.”

During his retirement, he plans to travel and relocate later this year to be near his children and grandchildren in the Doylestown, Pennsylvania area.

For more comments and tributes to Celso Backes, MD, follow


Anonymous said...

DR.BACKES, YOU'RE THE BEST,You win surely be missed, Enjoy your retirement. With your family, God Bless You! Debi Shepard

Anonymous said...

He was the most wonderful doctor anyone could ask for.