Now full processed and waiting for cataloging, and soon to be available for checkout from the Main Library, is the oral history interview with Dr. Albert Starr, co-developer of the Starr-Edwards heart valve. Starr was interviewed in February of 2006 by OHSU trauma surgeon Dr. Richard J. Mullins. Surgeon to surgeon, the two talked about the experience of performing a type of surgery that no one has ever performed before:
MULLINS: I’d like to discuss what it was like as the surgeon doing operations that you can’t read about in a book and finding something that is unexpected. You must have had that happen. Was that stressful?
STARR: Yes. In a word, yes, it was quite stressful. But it was a kind of stress that’s exciting stress. I mean, we—your own life is not on the line, so it’s a different kind of stress than the stress I experienced in Korea, for example. It’s more of an intellectual stress, trying to figure out—you know, nature’s out to get you, so how can I get around it. It’s that kind of feeling. It’s more like a game stress than it is a war stress or a personal issue in your own personal life.
MULLINS: Is this where your training with Dr.—was it Chambers?
MULLINS: Chamberlain, was helpful?
STARR: Yes, it was. Chamberlain was a very cerebral, very physical engineering-type mind. There’s a project, and let’s do it fast, but also elegant. It had a flow, it was like a ballet. One thing had to lead logically into another; no horsing around, just very methodical, logical, and elegant.
MULLINS: So did you just have to teach yourself how to put the sutures in the ring, the annulus?
MULLINS: Not too deep and not too…
STARR: Yes, all those things. The animal experience was very valuable. The humans were easy compared to the animals.