Friday, July 23, 2010

Stories from the Clippings

Is That an Elephant in the Room?

Dr. Charles Dotter was known around here as an innovator (the father of interventional radiology, no less) and a character. A lecture given by Paul Yock, of Stanford University, titled, "Beginning of Less Invasive Cardiac Techniques: Charles Dotter", is described thus: [It]"tells the story of how less invasive cardiac techniques got started. He [Yock] shares a video clip from Charles Dotter, better known as "crazy Charlie". Caveat: He said it, not me.

Well, "crazy Charlie" did a lot of things in his life including racing cars, climbing mountains, and film making; and "like many innovators, he had a drive and style that put him, and too often his ideas, outside of the mainstream." So, he did some things that were a bit surprising, like what you will read about here.

It was reported in August of 1954, that there was a terrible accident at the zoo. Rosy had fallen off of her water trough. Rosy was a four year old elephant that had just arrived in Portland in 1953, just a year after Charlie came to work at the University of Oregon Medical School. She was the first Asian elephant to ever live in Oregon. And here she was, climbing her water trough only to fall, injuring her leg.

The veterinarians at the zoo noticed that she was conspicuously favoring one of her amazingly large pachydermial legs. The doctor, T. H. Reed, after he had taken a look at a few preliminary x-rays of the injured foot, said that he didn't think there were any breaks. But Rosy did have a very thick hide and mighty big bones and it certainly wasn't easy to make any firm determinations from the radiographs produced at the zoo's clinic. So what else could they do? They called in Charlie Dotter, the new professor of radiology at UOMS. Charlie had already made a name for himself for his early work at Cornell University, where his imagination, innovation and skill coupled with his energetic spirit had advanced radiologic technique.

Charlie wanted to bring Rosy to the school, where the equipment was bigger and more powerful… but Rosy was having none of that. She was hurting and thrashing about so, that it seemed impractical to transport her. So, that begs the question of how did Charlie think that they would get her into the Department of Radiology? Through the front door?

Anyway, the way that it worked out was that Charlie, William Compton and Bill Sandburg brought the special equipment from UOMS to Rosy. After taking some "pictures", it was at last determined that Rosy had no fractures. She became the matriarch of a growing herd, giving birth to six calves before her death in 1993. On August 31, 1994, her daughter Me-Tu became the first elephant in North America to have twins. On August 23, 2008, her granddaughter Rose-Tu (the surviving twin) gave birth to Samudra, the first third-generation elephant born in the United States.

So all's well that ends well, and so it is that we have another good story to tell about Charlie.

Have you heard the one about the Penguins?

Articles referenced: f1p_41_a7,12

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Preserving the memory of Marsha Heims (1947-2010)

On June 6, 2010, OHSU School of Nursing alumna and professor Marsha Heims, RN, EdD, passed away. Twenty days later, colleagues, friends, and family gathered at the school to for a memorial service filled with stories and laughter. The service, and video presentations shown at it, were compiled on DVD and donated to the Historical Collections & Archives. Called "Celebrating the Life of Marsha Heims," the DVD will provide an audiovisual record of Heims' accomplishments to accompany the paper files--and if you knew Marsha, you'd know that you couldn't know Marsha without the audio and the visual!

Heims was born in Salem, OR, in 1947, and grew up in Stayton. She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from OHSU in 1969. After a stint with the US Air Force from 1971-1973, Heims received her master's degree in child health nursing from the University of Arizona College of Nursing in 1974. She then joined the faculty of the OHSU School of Nursing, rising through the ranks from instructor to full professor before her retirement in 2008. In 1991, she received her doctorate in education from Portland State University, writing a dissertation on the clinical laboratory in nursing education. She held important positions in both the Oregon Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing, including a stint on the NLN Board of Directors. From 1995-2008, she was a member by invitation of the Groves Conference on Marriage and Family. She received numerous awards and honors, and was selected by SON students as Faculty Marshal for graduation nearly a dozen times.

But all that is just data. In an article for the May 2008 Nursing eNotes, colleague Ann Beckett said "Marsha always gave me good counsel whether I wanted to hear it or not." Heims herself admitted: "I don't mince words." Thanks to the nursing school media folks who put the DVD together, future generations will have vivid examples of the truth of these words.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

DH Day

Longtime readers of this space might remember our excitement at bringing back home the scrapbook of Carl J. Hoffmann, M.D., University of Oregon Medical School alumnus and town physician for Woodland, WA. This scrapbook is one of our favorite items, not only because of its social and historical significance but also because of its immense physicality.

Between the covers of the hand-tooled leather binding, hundreds of photographs of Woodland, its residents, and Doc Hoffmann himself are gathered. Now, thanks to Erin Thoeny of Friends of Woodland Community Library, we have more information about the compilation of the scrapbook contents and its cost.

This letter from Leon Stroud "Artist Photographer" to Francis "Fox" Oleson, supplies us with a number of interesting details about the artifact. First of all, we find that the retirement event was not merely a party, but "DH Day", organized to such a degree that there was a separate finance committee, headed by the aforementioned Fox. Next, we learn that copies of some photographs were made. It's unclear from this accounting where those duplicate images are, but some may have been given to media outlets for publicity or to special guests. We also see that some of the photos used in the scrapbook were already "old" by the time the book was put together in 1947, and that the older images placed in the book are therefore retouched versions of originals.

Lastly, we are provided with further evidence that Hoffmann was indeed a beloved member of the Woodland community. Stroud concludes: "I would like to add that in all my nine years in this community that nothing has given me more pleasure or so filled me with a feeling of having done 'something worthwhile' than the hours spent this summer helping get this scrap book ready for Dr. Hoffmann." And that brings us to reason number three for why the scrapbook is a favorite here: it positively radiates love.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bridging out to the community

If anyone doubt the laws of attraction, behold: the pull exerted by a rapidly growing collection of material is strong enough to extend beyond state lines and institutional walls, and into that vortex has fallen the dental collection of Daniel Walter Matsenbaugh (1921-2009).

Matsenbaugh was born in Oklahoma City, OK, in 1921, and served with the 8th Air Force in World War II. Taking advantage of the GI Bill to further his education, he studied to become a dental technician. He worked with the Heritage Dental Laboratory and Gene Hall Dental Laboratory, both in Oklahoma, before retiring in 1986. In 1991, he moved to Bremerton,WA, home of his son Paul who brought us the collection.

Matsenbaugh was a bridge and crown man, and the two-box donation includes various amalgams and foils, forms and color samples, a porcelain oven (much smaller than the one we brought up from the dental school a few months back), and a complete set of S.S. White New Century Steel Tooth Forms (shown below).

This collection is a nice complement to the (primarily) teaching and research materials we're taking in from the School of Dentistry, and a good representation of materials used by a private lab operating at mid-century.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not Euphoric about the Cataphoric Electrode

I have any number of things I could share with readers today, new things have come in, interesting activities afoot... but our afternoon has been hijacked by Neiswanger's Cataphoric Vaginal Electrode. It does look like it would be a suitable substitute for a handgun, if properly concealed in the pocket of a robber.

But we weren't literally hijacked, of course. Nope, our curiosities, piqued by a question from a patron, have carried us away. Not recognizing the name Neiswanger, or the term "cataphoric", we've been delving into the arcana of turn-of-the-century electro-therapeutic techniques to begin to unravel what this item from our Medical Museum is and how it would have been used.

The answer to "Neiswanger who?" is answered most simply by saying "Charles Sherwood Neiswanger." Neiswanger authored a very popular text Electro-therapeutical practice; a ready reference guide for physicians in the use of electricity, of which OHSU holds the 1912 edition (and our colleagues at the National College of Natural Medicine and the University of Western States hold three other editions). He developed this particular instrument, the Cataphoric Vaginal Electrode, sometime prior to 1917, since the Shaw Surgical Co. supply catalog we have to hand includes it among the pages of electrodes on offer.

"Cataphoric," we discovered, refers not to cataphora but to cataphoresis, which is nowadays considered an obsolete term for what we call electrophoresis. Gould's medical dictionary from 1896, however, defines cataphoresis as "the introduction of drugs into the system through the skin, by means of ointments or solutions applied by the electrode of a battery."

In contemporary literature, there are reports of uses from anesthesia to infection control, but as with a lot of electro-therapeutic case reports, it often seems unclear (to me at least, skeptic that I am) what exactly a technique or treatment is a) meant to do and b) really doing. What was really disturbing was reading accounts of the use of the cataphoric urethral electrode. But I digress.

The item itself has the following specs:
-total length: 10 1/8”;
-silver tip extension: 2 5/16”;
-approximate circumference of ball head 3 ¼”;
-approximate circumference of black extension 1 1/2”.

Additionally, we can say that:
1.There is a hole at the very top of the copper ball. It is the same size as the other holes.
2.The holes are certainly not consistently spaced, but there are four clearly discernible rows circling the ball with the single hole at the very apex.
3.The holes have some corrosion that is a soft greenish powder that is easily removed. It may be verdigris or something introduced with use.
4.The shaft is made of a non-conductive material, a hard plastic or rubber.
5.The metal attachment appears to be inserted into the shaft perhaps with some sort of an insertion extension piece.

I am also fairly certain that were the donor, the prolific collector John C. Brougher, MD, alive today, he could tell us not only how it was used and when but where he obtained this specimen, whether he ever had any success using one himself, and why there seem to be so few of them laying around these days. Seance aside, we'll be spending a bit more time on this question again tomorrow. Should you have any thoughts on the matter, dear reader (beyond the "thank heavens for modern medicine") we'd love to hear them.