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Dr. David H. Loughran Sr., 66, infectious disease specialist on front line of HIV/AIDS crisis

Starting in 1983, Dr. Loughran was among the first clinicians to combat the HIV/AIDS virus and its recurring complications. "His contributions were huge," a colleague said.

Dr. David H. Loughran Sr.
Dr. David H. Loughran Sr.Read moreCourtesy Loughran Family

Dr. David H. Loughran Sr., 66, of Richboro, an infectious disease specialist who worked to combat the HIV/AIDS virus and its complications when little was known about virus, died of bladder cancer on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne.

In the 1980s, when HIV/AIDS was just emerging as a health-care crisis, Dr. Loughran was already at work, studying the disease, and how to treat and prevent secondary infections in patients with compromised immune systems.

"Dave was an outstanding internist, and he covered a lot of bases and did them all well," said Dr. Ed Johnson, his colleague. "He was a very consummate, accomplished infectious disease [expert] who had a passion for HIV/AIDS disease."

In July 1983, Dr. Loughran joined Johnson at St. Michael's Medical Center in Newark, site of the state's first HIV/AIDS clinic, Johnson said. At the time, it was one of a half dozen such clinics operating nationwide.

Johnson was director of the infectious disease fellowship program; Dr. Loughran was a fellow who did research and treated patients. "We both ended up there on ground zero because Newark was one of the first areas for HIV/AIDS because of the substance-abuse problem," Johnson said.

They put in long days. After hours, if work remained undone in the clinic, Dr. Loughran would offer to help, Johnson said: "He was that type of person – he would not walk away from a problem. Every patient was treated equally."

The two doctors developed grants from New Jersey and the federal government to get a handle on the HIV/AIDS virus. After the federal government approved a drug to control the virus in 1986, they looked for drugs to keep secondary infections at bay.

Over time, they devised some combinations that worked. "His contributions were huge," Johnson said.

Born in South Philadelphia, Dr. Loughran was the son of John Loughran Sr. and Alma Hatfield Loughran. The first in his family to attend college, he graduated from St. Joseph's University in 1979 and earned a medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in 1983.

From 1986 to 1988, Dr. Loughran studied at the Centers for Disease Control, where he sought ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and studied the strains of secondary infections to which HIV/AIDS patients are prone.

His findings were published in professional journals including Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality and New Jersey Medicine.

Dr. Loughran was a longtime professor and chair of infectious disease in the Department of Internal Medicine at PCOM.  He also served as the director of continuing education at Neumann Medical Center.

He ran an infectious disease practice in Doylestown and consulted for hospitals in Philadelphia and the suburbs. Some of his patients became lifelong friends.

"He treated HIV/AIDS patients and kept them alive for three decades," said his son David H. Loughran Jr. "They really loved him."

Dr. Loughran was an avid sportsman who enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson throughout Bucks County and surrounding areas.

He enjoyed coaching his sons, daughter, and their friends on ice hockey teams; spending time with family and friends at the Jersey Shore; learning to snowboard and play ice hockey at age 50; and taking snowboarding trips with his children. He also spent time with his fiancée, Sharon Ethier.

He drove his son John "Tommy" to drag races and helped daughter Megan Rose rescue injured wildlife.

He was married to Christine Loughran. They divorced in 2001. She survives.

In addition to his sons, David and John, and daughter Megan, he is survived by a son, Michael; and a brother.

A visitation from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, will be followed by a 6 p.m. funeral service in the Joseph A. Fluehr III Funeral Home, 800 Newtown-Richboro Rd. (at Holland Rd.), Richboro, Pa. 18954. Interment is private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society via