Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Impressions in the sands of time

Yesterday, emeritus professor of behavioral neuroscience Dr. Joe Matarazzo, PhD, passed along to us the autobiography of Dr. Richard Montgomery Bernard, a family medicine physician in private practice here in northwestern Oregon. Entitled Impressions in the sands of time, the book chronicles Bernard's life and career, from his early days as a chorus member in Hollywood movies to his military service in World War II to his entry into medicine and his experiences as a world traveler.

Bernard went through UC Berkeley on the Navy V-12 plan, graduating in 1945 with a BS in chemistry (minors in math and nuclear physics). During the war, he was employed on the Manhattan Project at Berkeley, working with Lawrence's 184-inch cyclotron. After the close of the war, Bernard enrolled at the University of Chicago, receiving his MD in 1950. He returned to the west in July of 1950, and completed an internship at the University of Oregon Medical School Hospitals & Clinics in June of 1951. After a stint as medical officer aboard the USS Dixie during the Korean War, Bernard embarked on a career as a private practice family physician here in the Portland area, serving also as a clinical faculty member in the OHSU Dept. of Family Practice from 1971 on. In 2007, Bernard retired from OHSU as emeritus clinical professor.

The memoir is filled with wonderful photographs and facsimiles of the many certificates and awards that Bernard received over his long career. Personal anecdotes abound, with stories of long treks to exotic locales, short fishing jaunts, and--of course--many medical junkets. A particularly haunting tale comes in chapter 3, when Bernard is attacked and left for dead by two young men outside of Vernonia on October 3, 1963. The pair had been looking for their marijuana patch and had gotten lost on the road; Bernard's effort to be a good samaritan nearly cost him his life.

The book will soon be cataloged and added to the Pacific Northwest Archives Collection. In the meantime, the complete table of contents is included below.

Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Initiations, euphonies, training wartime
Chapter 2: Post graduate, intern, Korean War, Dixie
Chapter 3: Solo practice 1954-1967, family crises
Chapter 4: Farming, viniculture, Alcan highway, Physicians' Institute
Chapter 5: Big moves and political actions 1971-1974
Chapter 6: Medical politics, transitions, traditions, continuing education
Chapter 7: East Asian medicine
Chapter 8: Gliding retirement, time, finance 1985-1990
Chapter 9: Locum tenens 1991-1994, Kitakata Rotary, boom box
Chapter 10: World cruises, near disaster, reunion, summary, commencement
Meditation on the origins of life
Resume 2007

1 comment:

MarDee said...

Dr. Bernard was our family physician from 1957 until he retired. There is no finer Doctor, nor no finer person. He is a true credit to the medical profession. Back in his early days of practice, an office call was $3.50 and he also made house calls. He delivered 2 of my 3 daughters and even today all 3 of them judge the care & treatment they receive by his standard. He would go out of his way to help a patient. I remember one time I had an allergic reaction to my alergy shot. I'd gone in after work for it, & since I was in such serious condition, he stayed right with me for well over an hour. I've often wondered what happened to the other patients in the waiting room!! Shortly before my 3rd daughter was born, Dr. Bernard had gone skiing. He had a couple choices to make...run into a ski-school group, hit a tree, or fall. He chose the later. When my 2 older girls (ages 3 & 5) learned of this, nothing would do but what they had to go visit THEIR DOCTOR in the hospital. We took them in. And, in all seriousness, he councelled me to "wait on delivery" until he was out of the hospital. Well, I'm sure my daughter listened. She was about a month late...and he delivered her...against HIS doctors orders...with a green garbage bag on over his cast. How many doctors are there today that care that much about their patients? Sadly, not many. That's why I've been so pleased that he chose to teach at OHSU after retirement. Hopefully some of his traits have been instilled into the new crop of doctors.

My best to you, Dick.
In many years long admiration & trust. One of your oldest patients,

MarDee McDougal