Friday, January 08, 2010

More Stories From the Clippings

Can you take me to the Richard B. Dillehunt Teaching Hospital?

In the Spring of 1953, high above the city of Portland, the University of Oregon Medical School's $6,300,000 teaching hospital began to rise, reaching its zenith at 14 floors. Visitors who came to tour the hospital at the March 3, 1956 dedication were astonished by the panoramic views of Mt. Hood and the Cascades, the state of the art architecture and the modern medical and teaching facilities.

When the work began, in recognition of Dr. Richard Benjamin Dillehunt's dedicated hard work, the Oregon State Medical Society recommended to the Oregon State Board of Control that the new teaching hospital be named for the dean emeritus. The Board approved the recommendation and passed their recommendation on to the Board of Higher Education, whose responsibility it was to make the final decision. What had Dillehunt accomplished that could afford him this honor?

Hired as a professor of anatomy at UOMS, Dillehunt became the 3rd dean of the school in 1920, following on the impressive heels of Dean K. A. J. Mackenzie. "Dilly", as he was affectionately known, was a highly honored orthopedic surgeon, who was known for his love of children and was the chief surgeon at the Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children for 19 years. During his tenure, he headed campaigns for major expansion on Marquam Hill, including the construction of the Multnomah County Hospital, Doernbecher Memorial Hospital for Children and the State Tuberculosis Hospital. He served with the Base Hospital 46 during WWI, climbing to the rank of Major. His affiliations, memberships, honors and accolades go on for miles. Dillehunt never married and some say he was too dedicated to "his school" to marry.

He died at home of a heart attack on October 31, 1953.

So where is the R. B. Dillehunt Teaching Hospital you might ask? The recommendation that he be honored by naming the teaching hospital after him was laid aside. The policy of the Board was not to name a building after a living person. Perhaps Dillehunt's legacy at UOMS surpassed any tribute that might have been chiseled in stone.

But wait! It was decided in 1989, nearly 40 years after his death, that Dillehunt should receive the honor that many felt he deserved. "The Old Doernbecher Hospital", erected while Dillehunt was dean, still stands today and proudly pays homage to his name.

Articles referenced: f1_p20_21_22_23_75

Thursday, January 07, 2010

There's medical illustration, and then there's...

...for example, this rather fanciful drawing from Antonio Scarpa's Saggio di osservazioni e d'esperienze sulle principali malattie degli occhi (Pavia: B. Comino, 1801). This just blows the mind if you look at it for too long.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Oh Olof! Setting part of the record straight

Olof Larsell's book, The Doctor in Oregon, is at least as good and useful as our constant referencing of it in this blog and elsewhere should lead you to believe. However, he was a busy, busy man (as any glance at his list of published works will reveal), and he did have students and other helpers assembling materials for the book. So, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised when we learn about errors in the text.

Today's case in point is the information on George F. Koehler, who was an early faculty member at the University of Oregon Medical School. Larsell correctly notes that Koehler graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1889 and came to Portland in 1890. He also notes that Koehler taught anatomy here (1891-98) and states that he went on to specialize in gastroenterology. Sure enough, Koehler shows back up in the faculty ranks in 1907 as a clinical assistant in medicine; he made his way up to Associate Professor before his untimely death in...1921? That's the date Larsell records, but Koehler appears in the 1922-23 class announcement. Well, maybe the proof was already off at the printers before Koehler died.

But happily, a contact from a descendant of Koehler's is shedding new light. His research shows that George died on March 11, 1923, and that he was born not in Germany as Larsell writes but in Oregon in 1867 (although on a passport application Koehler listed 1866 as his birthday--so, you can see why historians get confused!) His father, a dentist, was a German by birth, and his mother was an Irishwoman--according to the 1920 census; according to the 1900 census she was from New York.

So, what does this tell us about Larsell's book? It is, like all other histories, imperfect, though Larsell does better with medical facts (especially about fellow anatomists!) than with non-medical facts. What does this tell us about historical research? It's enough to make one tear one's hair out.

Shown: George F. Koehler, from the 1897 UOMS Commencement photo

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

From Acott to Zonana: more of what you're looking for

The first working day of the new year brought thirty new boxes of materials to our doorstep, courtesy of the hardworking staff of the OHSU President's office.

A first installment of what we expect to be a very large and significant transfer of records pertaining to presidential administrations back to the reign of Leonard Laster, M.D. (OHSU President 1978-87), the delivery included nine storage cartons full of the faculty files we've come to recognize--and love--from the News & Publications unit. Files from Acott to Zonana, with media clippings, news releases, CVs, internal memos, and other ephemera--along with the occasional photo.

These files will join their brethren in the Biographical Files, which you all have made our most heavily used resource--in fact, we can tell you which of the 71 boxes hold the files of the most sought-after names without looking at the inventory. The addition of these new materials (circa 25 linear feet) will force us to change our mental maps, but that's what this job is all about--learning new things every day.

Processing has started already, a) because they are likely to be heavily used and b) this is just the sort of fascinating yet tedious work that makes one's afternoon pass by like a dream. There's nothing like the lullaby of the staple remover and the whisper of the plastic clip slipping on paper, coupled with the intellectual stimulus of really good gossip to warm an archivist's heart...

Monday, January 04, 2010

In memoriam: William M. Garnjobst, MD (1920-2009)

We return from the holiday season to the sad news of the passing of University of Oregon Medical School alumnus, retired OHSU faculty member, and HC&A supporter Dr. William M. Garnjobst, M.D., who died on Dec. 17, 2009. He was 89.

Dr. Garnjobst was born in Halsey, OR, on Oct. 14, 1920. He attended Oregon State College, graduating with a B.A. in 1943. He obtained his M.D. from UOMS in 1945 (in the wartime accelerated program) and undertook an internship at Highland Alameda Hospital in Oakland, CA. He reported to Madigan General Hospital to complete his internship year, training there with chief John Bonica. Garnjobst was subsequently assigned to the Sondrestromfjord Air Force Base in Greenland, retuning to the U.S. in 1947.

He practiced with his father (UOMS Class of 1912) in Corvallis for two years before returning to UOMS for a residency in surgery. He joined Louis Gambee and Clifford "Em" Hardwick at Providence in 1954. Garnjobst was only the second physician ever to be re-elected as president of the medical staff there. He also served as Clinical Professor of Surgery at OHSU and as a consultant to the Portland VA Medical Center before retiring in 1988. Providence has established a William M. Garnjobst endowed Chair of Graduate Medical Education.

Garnjobst authored 18 papers on surgical topics and served as associate editor of Diseases of the colon & rectum for 11 years.

An avid book collector and strong supporter of the Historical Collections & Archives, Garnjobst donated Thomas Willis' De anima brutorum (Oxonii, E Theatro Sheldoniano, impensis Ric. Davis, 1672) and a 1787 French translation of John Hunter's Traité des maladies vénériennes (Paris : Méquignon, 1787). He also contributed to the writing of the history of the OHSU Dept. of Surgery, which was completed in 2007. His affable manner and gentlemanly bearing will be greatly missed.

A memorial will be held in January.