Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pacific Coast surgery, with a local note

A recent addition to the Pacific Northwest Archives Collection is The Early history and era of development of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association : the first twenty-five meetings (1982) and its companion volume, published six years later, The History of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association (1955-1979), both edited by Lyman Brewer III.

Established in April of 1925 by thirty-six of the "leading surgeons" of the West Coast, the PCSA spent the first 52 years of its existence in blissful neglect of its own history. The 1982 volume recognized that "early historical treasures of the association have been scattered far and wide and, in fact, the whereabouts of some of them will never be known," and hoped that "future generations of our society will recognize the important need to maintain an official repository for the archives" of the PCSA. (A search of the association web site provides no information about the current whereabouts of said archives, although the group does have an official historian. So, let us be the first to offer them an official home, should they be looking....)

The first volume contains a wealth of information on wartime surgery, covering both World War I and World War II, along with chapters on the development of surgical specialties. The 1988 volume continues the story, with perspectives on Viet Nam, government regulation of surgery, surgical ethics and liability, and the proliferation of even more surgical specialties.

An added local interest comes in the form of a presentation inscription: the first volume of the OHSU set is inscribed to Portland's second neurosurgeon, John Raaf, from Brewer, as seen in the image here.

No comments: