Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lecture on the History of Pediatric Surgery

The first annual John R. Campbell, MD, Lecture in Pediatric Surgery will be held on April 7, 2008. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D., will provide an overview of sixty-two years of pediatric surgery history during this evening talk. The lecture will start at 5:00 p.m. in the OHSU Auditorium on the Marquam Hill campus of OHSU.

Dr. Jack Campbell was the first full-time pediatric surgeon in the state of Oregon. A long time faculty member here at OHSU, Campbell sat down with Dr. Richard Mullins to share his thoughts on medicine, pediatric surgery, and the history of OHSU for our Oral History Project. Tapes and transcript are available for checkout from the Main Library.

Campbell has a long history with speaker Koop; in his oral history he talks about how "Chick" got him into pediatric surgery:
MULLINS: How is it that you ended up being a pediatric surgeon?

CAMPBELL: Well, I had always been interested in embryology. One of the things I had done in college is that I had serially sectioned chick embryos at their various stages of development and made slides and studied them in a very good comparative anatomy course. And also I wanted to do the most general of surgery that I could do, be in all the body cavities, and since pediatric surgery is a specialty of an age group and not an organ system, that met my bill.

I had a very good friend who was in the residency in Philadelphia at the Children’s Hospital with Dr. Koop, and so I wrote Dr. Koop and told him I’d like to come for an interview. In those days, you didn’t enter a match; if he liked the cut of your jib he would offer you a job. So I was in Philadelphia for two years at the Children’s Hospital.

MULLINS: Do you remember some of the questions Dr. Koop asked you? Did he have that big beard when you interviewed him?

CAMPBELL: He didn’t have that big beard in those days, no.

The questions were not medical questions. We tell our residents now, you know, after you’ve finished general surgery and you’re applying for a residency beyond that, you’ve already proven that you know the facts. The American Pediatric Surgical Association did a survey of pediatric surgical training directors. It has shown that people are chosen on their personalities and on their commitment and on the human factors. That’s the way that “Chick”, as we learned to call him, did it.

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