Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bright lights, big surgery

Pulling images for a request for views of the interior of the old Multnomah County Hospital (which are surprisingly thin on the ground, actually), we yesterday scrutinized the contents of the folder Places > Multnomah County Hospital > Surgery.

Of the approximately 30 photos in the folder, fully nine of them were taken at the same event--an event that brought cameras and the head of university public relations into the operating theater. Four of the nine had only the date 1953 penciled on the reverse, but we figured that that much publicity must have left a trace somewhere. Sure enough, in the February 1953 issue of What's Going On we found the following announcement:

With brilliant floodlights, yards of high-power electrical cable and several 16 mm. movie projectors, the Oregon State System of Higher Education's movie crew went into action one day last month on the Medical School campus.

Under the direction of Dr. Curtis Reid of Oregon State College, scenes depicting Medical School student instruction, services, and research were recorded in color and sound, and will be incorporated into a complete movie now being made of the activities to be found on the several campuses of the State System. The script which was written by Mr. Travis Cross of the Chancellor's Office, called for sequences in the surgery at Multnomah Hospital, patients in the clinic, research in the John E. Weeks Eye Laboratory, and nursing care in Doernbecher Hospital.

Mr. Cross informs us that the film, when finished early next fall, will be used primarily for television; it will also be shown to service organizations, business groups, and to students throughout the state.
No word on who made up the surgical team or what operation was being done. One wonders whether the patient seen here realized that he (or she) was about to experience 15 minutes of fame...


Chris Shaffer said...

One wonders if the film is available in an archives somewhere?

Sara Piasecki said...

If it was an OSSHE product, it may still be in the archives of that group, which became the Oregon University System. Information about the records of the system can be obtained by contacting the records management department http://www.ous.edu/dept/recmgmt/