Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Return from Oblivion: Portland's first neurosurgeon, A.J. McLean

For those who cannot come in person to the OHSU Marquam Hill campus, the online component of our new exhibit is now available!





Created by Archivist Karen Peterson, the display showcases the brief but brilliant career of this controversial character.

A graduate of Reed College, A.J. McLean received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins and his neurosurgical training at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital with the specialty's founding father, Harvey Cushing. After a fellowship in Breslau, Germany, with prominent neurosurgeon Otfried Foerster, McLean returned to Portland where he opened a private practice and joined the faculty of the University of Oregon Medical School. Brash, disrespectful and hot-headed, he gained admirers as well as detractors. When he died in a car accident in December of 1938 (which some claimed was suicide), he left a will that gained national attention for its somewhat unusual clauses: "...To 95 percent of Portland's medical practitioners and their ethics, and the whole local organized medical profession, a lusty, rousing belch. To Portland's thieving patients, the haphazard care they will receive for their chiseling tawdriness....To my name, oblivion."

After seventy years of getting his wish, McLean is being resurrected. Witness his return, and get a glimpse of the motivations and ambitions of this enigmatic man.

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