Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Oral histories: two in the can

Our able interviewer Jim Kronenberg, formerly director of the Oregon Medical Association, along with video producer Matt Simek of Pacific Standard Television, videographer Ralph Cunningham of Vista Video, and yours truly got two of our three planned oral histories on tape yesterday.

Dr. Rodney K. Beals, MD, spoke about changes in orthopedic surgical treatments, techniques, and materials before moving on to a discussion of the history of orthopedics in Oregon. The forty-first resident to complete the ortho residency at the University of Oregon Medical School, Beals knows every resident who came before him and every resident who has come after. Each year, he spends days calling orthopedists across the state to gauge manpower changes. He also happens to have a set of glass lantern slides originally owned by Richard Dillehunt, MD, third dean of the UOMS and one of the state's first orthopedists.

Dr. William Toffler, MD, discussed his own entry into the (then) new field of Family Medicine in the 1970s, his early years in private practice in Sweet Home, OR, and the development of the Family Medicine department at OHSU before moving on to an eloquent articulation of his stance against physician-assisted suicide, calling it a "dis-ease" against which he now hopes to "immunize" other states and other areas around the world.

This morning, we will hear the counterpoint to Dr. Toffler's stand from Peter Goodwin, MD, and explore how it so happens that the two most vocal advocates for and against physician-assisted suicide also happen to be colleagues in the OHSU Department of Family Medicine and, in fact, old, old friends.

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