Friday, February 25, 2011

Stories from the Clippings

Squawk! And Squawk, Squawk, Back!
Say it now or forever hold your peace.

"Frenchy" Chuinard, MD

Here are two letters to the editor that came through when noted physician, Frenchy Chuinard, MD., publicly invited (in the Portland Journal) "constructive suggestion[s]" regarding the Multnomah County Hospital. The indigent sick: 1 for and 1 against.

Adrian Hughes, self-identified indigent, took Frenchy up on his offer. A squawk letter to the editor made three very specific suggestions:

Suggestion No. 1: Let the society [Multnomah County Medical Society] replace the hard, body twisting benches and crowded waiting room with one which is more suitable for the "indigent sick." Let them pattern this waiting room after the offices of Director Charles N. Holman, which are airy, spacious, beautifully appointed, and as far as I could see, largely unoccupied and unused.

Suggestion No. 2: When a doctor makes a diagnosis, have the doctor put this diagnosis in writing, with the doctor's name signed at the bottom, if the patient requests it. Early in 1950, I asked for such a written diagnosis, but was told by Dr. Charles L. Holman's secretary that this coudn't be done, because "it isn't customary, " and "it is not a policy of the institution."
As a result of the diagnosis incident, I sent a letter to Dr. Holman early in 1950. The letter was a "squawk letter", typical of those which people write who believe they have been treated unfairly. Maybe Dr. Holman never got the letter. At any rate, several months have passed and I have never received a reply.

Suggestion No. #3: Let Dr. Holman at least acknowledge such letters received from squawking patients. Other wise they might get the idea they are being given the run-around. Patients like me, for example.

Six days later, indigent, Mrs. Dora Grunow replied to the Squawk letter support of two grand institutions, the University of Oregon medical school and Multnomah county hospital, which have kept me alive for 11 years.

It is unfair, she writes, to criticize Dr. Holman or any of the directors or staff members at the hospital. I think it is a privilege to sit on the so-called "body-twisting" benches. I guess Mr. Hughes has never stopped to imagine what would happen to big, soft easy chairs being used by the public at the rate of 1000 persons daily.

Maybe he could get better service if he went to a private hospital. As for me, I say God bless the benches and the wonderful directors and staff in this place. Many thanks to them all. I am an idigent sick.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Researching medical artifacts, part 2

Last month I posted a first entry on researching medical artifacts. Since then, I've given a presentation to Lewis & Clark College history students on this topic, and we've also started working with our Oregon College Art & Craft artists on their Scavenger Hunt artifacts. All of these discussions have focused on using primary resources - the artifact itself, and related materials from the time when the artifact was first in use. But we realize that not everyone has easy access to these resources. In these cases, starting your research with secondary resources can help you get started.

One book I've referred to repeatedly is:

Edmonson, James M. American Surgical Instruments: The History of Their Manufacture and a Directory of Instrument Makers to 1900. San Francisco: Norman Pub, 1997.

I recommend Edmonson's book as a user-friendly but thoroughly researched historical survey. It's a great entry point for learning about the history of the manufacture and use of medical equipment.

Some other relevant books held at OHSU Library are:]

Bennion, Elisabeth. Antique Dental Instruments. New York, NY: Sotheby's Publications, 1986.

Bennion, Elisabeth. Antique Medical Instruments. London: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1979.

Davis, Audrey B., and Mark S. Dreyfuss. The Finest Instruments Ever Made: A Bibliography of Medical, Dental, Optical, and Pharmaceutical Company Trade Literature, 1700-1939. Arlington, Mass: Medical History Pub. Associates I, 1986.

Davis, Audrey B. Medicine and Its Technology: An Introduction to the History of Medical Instrumentation. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1981.

Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine, Gustav C. E. Weber, and James M. Edmonson. Nineteenth Century Surgical Instruments: A Catalogue of the Gustav Weber Collection at the Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine. Cleveland, Ohio: Historical Division, Cleveland Health Sciences Library, 1986.

Kirkup, John. The Evolution of Surgical Instruments: An Illustrated History from Ancient Times to the Twentieth Century. Novato, Calif:, 2006.

Ricci, James V. The Development of Gynaecological Surgery and Instruments; A Comprehensive Review of the Evolution of Surgery and Surgical Instruments for the Treatment of Female Diseases from the Hippocratic Age to the Antiseptic Period. Philadelphia: Blakiston, 1949.

OHSU patrons are free to check these books out from the library's main collections.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

OHSU History of Medicine Society Lecture: "Forward Surgery and Whole Blood Transfusion Saving Wounded Soldies in World War II"

Our last History of Medicine Lecture of the 2010/2011 season is this Friday:

"Forward Surgery and Whole Blood Transfusion Saving Wounded Soldiers in World War II"

Guest speaker: Richard Mullins, M.D.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Public lecture: 12:15pm

Refreshments served at noon

Location: Old Library Auditorium

Dr. Mullins earned an M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1974 and completed internship and residencies at University of Oregon Health Sciences Center in 1974-1980. He received additional training and research experience at Wayne State University’s Department of Surgery, Albany Medical College’s Department of Physiology, and Emory University’s Department of Surgery. Dr. Mullins’s first academic position was at the University of Louisville where he served as Assistant Chief of Surgery at Louisville’s V.A. Medical Center. In 1989 he returned to Oregon Health & Science University as Associate Professor, Department of Surgery. He was appointed Chief, Trauma/Critical Care Section in 1989, and Professor of Surgery in 1994.

His teaching at OHSU has been recognized with the Hiram C. Polk Award for Teaching Excellence (1987), the OHSU Dean’s Teaching Award (1996), and the Marquam Hill Faculty Teaching Award (2006). He has also earned the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the OHSU Department of Surgery (2000), the Barry Goldwater Service Award for a Reserve Surgeon from the Uniform Services Surgical Association (2007), and the Trauma Achievement Award from the Committee on Trauma, American College of Surgeons (2007). His professional affiliations include Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Senior Member of the Society of University Surgeons, and Fellow of the American Surgical Association. Dr. Mullins holds the rank of Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve and has been deployed twice to Iraq.

The lecture is free and open to the public. If you have a disability and need an accommodation to attend or participate in this event please contact Maija Anderson (503-418-2287) at least five business days prior to the event.