Friday, December 08, 2006

Walter Dandy, American neurosurgeon

The other day, Dr. C. Conrad Carter, former faculty member in the OHSU Department of Neurology , dropped by to chat about the A.J. McLean Collection of papers. One thing lead to another, we discussed the upcoming exhibit on McLean scheduled for Spring 2007 and the Cushing lecture being given on May 18, and the name of Walter Dandy came up in the conversation.

Like McLean, Dandy was a student of Harvey Cushing at the Hunterian Laboratory at Johns Hopkins at the dawn of the 20th century. Also like McLean, Dandy was considered "difficult" by many of his colleagues. Fortunately for Dandy, his children have gone on to balance the historical record. His daughter, Mary Ellen Dandy Marmaduke, published Walter Dandy: the personal side of a premier neurosurgeon in 2002 under the sponsorship of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. No library in our Summit consortium owns this title, and neither did OHSU--until Dr. Carter decided to donate his personal copy to our collections. He received it directly from the author, who is now a Health Education Consultant here in Portland.

Marmaduke tells stories of her experience as a teenager watching her father perform operations. The book itself is filled with personal photographs of Walter Dandy and his family, fishing, vacationing, even playing with blocks. Luckily for the OHSU community, Marmaduke will be coming to campus to give a talk on Dandy: December 18, 2006, at 7:00 a.m. in the 12th floor conference room of the Hatfield Research Center. The talk is being sponsored by the OHSU Dept. of Neurosurgery. Interested OHSU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend. For those of you not able to attend, I'll recap the lecture highlights here on that Monday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Visitors, amusing and not

Going through the many folders of the Proof Collection of contact sheets with their associated negative strips, I see many images of campus visitors, from government figures (Ron Wyden) to local celebrities (Rose Festival Courts) to cartoon characters (Snoopy).

The sheets are filed differently (whether arbitrarily or not is something I haven't quite puzzled out yet), some being in with a topic (like pediatrics) or a place (Doernbecher). Today I made it to the folder actually labeled "Visitors/Tours." Inside, many of the images are identified by date only and show large groups of people walking through buildings, crossing campus, or watching lab technicians at work.

There are some photographs of single individuals of note who have graced our campus in the past. One is Caspar Weinberger. Another is Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. Weinberger doesn't bring any funny stories to mind (my mind, at least), but I do have one about Koop, who is called "Chick" by his friends. In his oral history interview, pediatric surgeon and professor emeritus Jack Campbell, MD, relates this anecdote:

CAMPBELL: Funny incidents? Well, I guess I can’t remember too many of those. I know when Dr. Koop retired, we all went back to Philadelphia for his festschrift, and Barry O’Donnell, who was a pediatric surgeon at the Dublin Children’s Hospital and president of the British Association of Pediatric Surgeons, had come over to represent them at his retirement party.

Barry, by the way, has relatives down at Lakeview, Oregon. The O’Donnells in Lake County, Oregon, brought all the sheep over from Ireland for the big sheep enterprise down there.

Dr. Koop was Surgeon General at the time, and he had a long beard, and Barry said that whenever he looked at Chick, he reminded him of Moses; that he was just glad that God sent Moses to get the ten commandments, because if he’d have sent Chick he’d have come back with a hundred [laughter]. Because, you know, the Surgeon General said, “Don’t smoke, don’t do this, don’t do that.”

We could all benefit from more of Dr. Koop's advice! Check out his website, drkoop. com, for the latest dos and don'ts.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New tramiana

Yesterday, we received a fantastic new piece of tramiana for our collections. Dr. Donald Houghton, faculty member here in OHSU's Pathology Department, donated original artwork for an editorial cartoon on the tram, originally published in the Portland Tribune.

The caption poses a question: "Q: How do you deal with an 800-pound gorilla? A: Give him everything he wants!" A gorilla labeled as "OHSU" plays with the lever operating a small red tram, while from a window in a house down the hill a voice cries out "EGADS! Are they still messing with monkeys?!!"

The cartoon is from 2001, which indicates that the controversy began early and has continued almost unabated until the present day. With the tram opening scheduled for next month, it remains to be seen whether the beauty of the design, the economy of the mechanism, and the sheer thrill of the ride will be enough to win the hearts and minds of city residents.

In full color, framed and mounted, the image is display ready. Perhaps it would be best hung inside the tram's upper terminus, the 9th floor of the Peter O. Kohler Pavilion...?

Incidentally, the cartoon originally ran on September 11, 2001.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Heart valves, digitized--part II

Warning: Some of the images referred to in this post are not for the faint of heart. If you don't like watching operations on TV or feel faint at the sight of blood, you may want to forgo checking out the images of the valves during or post-implantation.

As I promised to you all in an earlier post, the complete collection of images from the Jeri Dobbs artificial heart valve collection is now available for viewing in the OHSU Digital Resources Library.
A search (All of the words) on "Jeri Dobbs" will retrieve all 71 images from this collection, which also contains twenty-seven actual Starr-Edwards valves, a Kay-Shiley valve, and a pig valve.

The digitized images include photographs of artificial valve models of various types, as well as x-rays of patients with artificial valves, examples of the wear on valve components after periods of implantation, diagrams of testing equipment developed by Lowell Edwards and Edwards Laboratories, and images of the cardiac pacemaker developed by Albert Starr.

Another great resource for charting the development of artificial heart valves is the Bakken Artifacts Database section on blood circulation.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Doctors as bookmen

Do you remember when you were a child, and the day came when you got to pick out your very own bookplates for your books? No? Maybe that day doesn't come for every child, or comes but is then quickly forgotten. I remember it well, but then I'm a little bit of a bibliomaniac.

Doctors, too, can experience the excitement of books. Not solely collectors of grisly tales from the operating room, some of them have built impressive collections of books: William Osler is a prominent example, having amassed an enormous library, organized the books, and then donated the whole thing to McGill University. McGill then cataloged the collection and made it accessible to the public.

When you have upwards of 8,000 books, as Osler did, and like to lend them to your friends and colleagues, you need to have a way of establishing your ownership of those volumes. If you have a little expendable income and a flair for the artistic (or a tendency to hand cramps when signing your name 8,000 times in a row), you might commission a lovely personalized bookplate. Physicians like to showcase their vocations and personalities as much as the rest of us, and some of the character of these characters can be seen in the bookplates they adopted.

There are now two places on the web to see interesting examples of medical bookplates: the National Library of Medicine's small web exhibit of ephemera Here Today, Here Tomorrow includes a section on bookplates; and now collector, dealer, and blogger Lewis Jaffe has begun highlighting medical bookplates in a series intended to run through Dec. 10, 2006. Both sites offer plates with images ranging from the beautiful to the bawdy.

By the way, we do have an example of an Osler bookplate here in the History of Medicine Collection. The book came to us through a rather circuitous route, which is outlined in the catalog note.