Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brill Book

We were recently privileged to be allowed to see and copy portions of what was referred to as The Brill Book--a collection of materials pertaining to the career of Isidor C. Brill, M.D. The binder, put together by family members, contains primarily reprints of Brill's papers. It also holds a bibliography of Brill's writings created by OHSU library staff in 1963 (so it's odd that we didn't have a copy of this already); an article from the Winter 1986 issue of the StV Update on the Isidor Brill Chair of Medicine at St. Vincent Hospital; and a typescript draft with manuscript corrections of Brill's article "Myocardial infarction in two sisters less than 20 years old" (published in JAMA 217:1345-1348).

Who was I.C. Brill? The Polish-born teenager came to Portland in 1903. He went East for his medical training, receiving his M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He returned to Portland in 1916, joining the faculty of the University of Oregon Medical School and the staff of St. Vincent Hospital. At UOMS, he initiated medical grand rounds on Tuesday mornings and, with colleague Frank Menne, instituted the popular Friday clinicopathological conference. He worked to establish cardiac clinics at St. Vincent, and secured the funding for the hospital's first Lown defibrillator. He and colleague John Beeson were instrumental in reorganizing the old Hahnemann Hospital into Holladay Park Hospital.

Brill served in France during World War I, was the first Oregon governor of the American College of Cardiology, and was one of the first to publish on cor pulmonale (pulmonary heart disease. He retired from the medical school faculty in 1968 and died in 1975.

Brill's legacy lives on, both at St. Vincent with the Brill Chair, and also here at the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care, where the Madeline Brill Nelson Chair in Ethics Education commemorates Dr. Brill's compassion and integrity.

(I'd now show you a lovely photograph of Dr. Brill from the Daniel Labby Scrapbook, but our external hard drive is feeling a bit under the weather and has gone in for treatment--about which you'll undoubtedly hear more later.)

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