Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One of the Best of a Rare Breed

Yesterday, we installed our latest exhibit, “One of the Best of a Rare Breed: Melvin Paul Judkins, a Pioneer in Coronary Arteriography,” now on display in the main lobby of the OHSU Library. Among other items, the exhibit includes a cobra mounted in strike pose, presented to Judkins by an Indian physician in honor of his development of the "cobra catheter." (Isn't he cute?)

Judkins, a 1947 graduate of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, began his career as a family practitioner in the small town of Sumas, WA. Unsatisfied with the hectic pace and overwhelming demands of a solo practice, a forty-year old Judkins decided to make a career change. With the encouragement of a former family practitioner turned radiologist, Judkins began to search for a residency program that would accept someone of his age.

After being turned down by the Mayo Clinic, he chose to come to Portland to attend the University of Oregon Medical School as a resident in radiology under Charles Dotter, M.D., and P.E. Billimoria, M.D. That year, Dr. Judkins collaborated with Dr. Dotter in the development and introduction of percutaneous transluminal dilatation of narrowed peripheral arteries.

In 1966, Judkins was appointed Director of Cardiovascular Radiology for the UOMS Hospitals and Clinics as well as Professor of Radiology in the Medical School. He held both positions until 1970, when he returned to Loma Linda. While at UOMS, he introduced the Judkins Technique of selective percutaneous transfemoral coronary arteriography, a technique which has been used worldwide. He and his colleagues developed safety and safety-J guidewires and pioneered the application of a thin Teflon coating to the guidesprings.

Dr. Judkins died January 28, 1985. During his lifetime, he was recognized internationally as an authority on radiologic equipment and on the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.

Materials from the Melvin Paul Judkins Collection (Accession No. 2005-022) will be on display through January 2008. Questions about the exhibit can be sent to homref at ohsu.edu.

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