Update on Dr. MacDougall

Dr. Dan MacDougall is a treasured member of the Covenant faculty and overall community of the college. He has been a Professor of Biblical Studies since 1993 and teaches classes like New Testament and Hermeneutics. Last month, an unexpected adversity threatened his health; however, a recent visit with him and his wife provided assurance that he is swiftly recovering.

On Saturday morning, August 27, Dr. MacDougall was running along Lula Lake Road when he suffered a heart attack and cardiac arrest. Within minutes, Mrs. MacDougall, who was out for a walk, came upon him and tried to initiate CPR. She was soon relieved by a man who was passing by and then by Lookout Mountain policemen and volunteer firemen. He was transported to the ICU, and over the following two and a half weeks, he spent time in a local hospital and then at the Siskin Rehabilitation Hospital.  

When asked what they had learned from this trial, Mrs. MacDougall emphasized God’s provision throughout the experience. She recounted having no resources or even a phone the morning of her husband’s heart attack, yet God equipped their family with prompt aid to properly treat Dr. MacDougall. In fact, the man who first administered CPR later told them that he did not even know how, yet he attempted the process anyway.

Mrs. MacDougall expressed her inclination to feel secure when she is in control of situations, yet this spontaneous event was a “humbling lesson” as she struggled to trust God. However, she learned (and is still learning) how to more fully depend upon Him and His sovereignty.

Just as Romans 12:15 states, “Weep with those who weep” (ESV), members of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church and the Covenant community actively offered prayers, sent encouraging e-mails, texts, and cards, and provided meals to the MacDougalls. Mrs. MacDougall said on the first day, pastors from their church stayed with her at the hospital so she never had to be alone.

We can also find comfort in the first half of that verse and “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Dr. MacDougall rapidly regained his strength and “bounced back quickly” as his wife confirmed. This past Monday, Oct. 3, he began cardiac rehab and will be introduced to new routines until he is released from medical care.

Moving forward, Dr. MacDougall aims to continue teaching Bible classes at Covenant next semester and, depending upon his recovery, may even return this semester. In fact, he has recently been visiting his office as he prepares to integrate back into the working environment. Additionally, Mrs. MacDougall utilized this experience to stress the importance of knowing where defibrillators are on campus in case unpredictable situations like this happen again.

“These things happen so unexpectedly. You just never know,” Dr. MacDougall said.

However, we as a community can rejoice with the one thing we always know: God is faithful and is with us in life and in death, as well as through our trials and doubt. On behalf of Covenant, we continue to extend our prayers and eagerly wait to welcome Dr. MacDougall back to campus.