Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New exhibit: Rontgen Rays, Harnessed to Heal

We're happy to announce the opening of our latest exhibit (or exhibition, if you insist): Rőntgen Rays, Harnessed to Heal: Early Radiography and Radiation Medicine in Portland, now on display in the main lobby of the OHSU Library.

Portland radiologist Ivan M. Woolley, M.D., author of Roentgenology in Oregon: the First Fifty Years, chose 1903 as the starting date for his history of radiology. At that time, it was not widely known that overexposure to x-ray could cause injury. Many pioneering physicians who worked in radiography often developed badly burned arms and hands. Even in later years, when the danger was known, technicians were often severely injured through carelessness and overexposure, and misdiagnosis due to inadequately powered equipment was a frequent occurrence.

The Department of Radiology was established at the University of Oregon Medical School after the school moved to Marquam Hill in 1919. When the Multnomah County Hospital also moved to the Hill in 1921, a Wantz Jr. X-Ray machine was installed for diagnostic work. When the Doernbecher Hospital was completed, an x-ray department was opened and a combination fluoroscope and radiation Victor machine was employed. Upon construction of the Outpatient wing, the machines from the hospital were moved to the new location but the Doernbecher machines were left to be used solely for pediatric patients.

The UOMS Radiation Oncology program was established in the Multnomah County Hospital in the 1930s as the division of X-ray Therapy within the De¬partment of Radiology. The first resident in general radiology was accepted in 1934; the first resident receiving training in radiation therapy started his three-year residency in 1964.

The new exhibit highlights the advances in radiology and radiation medicine at OHSU from the turn of the century to the present, and includes materials from Historical Collections & Archives as well as the Dept. of Radiation Medicine and the personal collection of Dr. Kenneth R. Stevens, Jr., M.D. Materials will be on display through March 2009. Unfortunately, due to a temporary moratorium on changes to the OHSU Library web site, the online component of this exhibit will not be available concurrently.

Questions about the exhibit and requests for exhibit brochures can be addressed to homref @ ohsu.edu.

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