Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm thankful for ... the J. Guy Strohm scrapbook

Hot off the presses in the archival sweatshop we run here in Historical Collections & Archives is the finding aid for a newly processed collection, the John Guy Strohm Scrapbook: Base Hospital 46, Accession No. 2004-026.

Dr. Strohm, known as J. Guy to virtually everyone one who knew him (and we who feel like we know him), was a cigar-chompin' soldier who climbed the Army ranks to colonel and headed up the all-volunteer Oregon unit, General Hospital 46, in World War II. In the first World War, he served with distinction in Oregon's 91st Division as division surgeon. Between the wars, he was on the faculty of the University of Oregon Medical School and headed up the Department of Urology.

The scrapbook in question is largely made up of newspaper clippings of a series called "The History of the Gallant 91st: a Narrative of the 'Wild West Division' Heavily Officered by Oregon Men, dedicated to the 2000 heroes who never returned," written for the Oregonian by William H. Johnston in 1926. In addition, correspondence, a booklet, a photograph, documents and other news clippings were laid into the scrapbook. Much of the correspondence is between Kenneth A.J. Mackenzie, UOMS Dean, and various others about the activities of the school and local physicians during the war years. The complete finding aid will be available on the Archives web page shortly.

For more information on the 91st, read the history by Alice Palmer Henderson or check out some online resources such as Wikipedia's entry. A wealth of materials pertaining to the Base Hospital 46 and General Hospital 46 are available in Historical Collections & Archives, including books, manuscripts, and photographs from those who served.

As we head into this Thanksgiving holiday, we thank all those who have contributed to the maintenance of the the American way of life, and to all those who have chronicled it. Thanks to the history makers and the history takers, without whom archives would be out of business!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Personal takes on the history of medicine in Oregon

Since 2003, the OHSU Oral History Program has been acting in cooperation with what was then an already existing project to create a documentary film on the history of medicine in Oregon. This latter project, jointly sponsored by the Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Historical Society, The Foundation for Medical Excellence, and OHSU, and funded largely through the Oregon Medical Education Foundation, has recently been named an official Oregon 150 project. OHSU Historical Collections & Archives, in addition to providing research support and coordinating on interviews for some interviewees of interest to both projects, will eventually become the repository for the materials--video, audio, and paper--created as a result.

To that end, we recently received three transcripts from oral history interviews recorded for that project. As with all oral history, there are wonderful anecdotes and personal opinions included in each of these, samples of which are below:

Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, interviewed by Roy Payne, M.D., May 20, 2003, on lobbying the legislature for funding:
Payne: Now after you got into the political field, into the legislature, where did you start getting involved there? Was it the dental school issue then?

Hatfield: The dental school was the very first, because it was not in the top level of the consolidated programs for building and higher education that had been developed by the chancellor’s office. So a group of students were helping to lobby for a new building, as well as faculty. And I remember the most, perhaps the most fantastic piece of lobbying that I ever experienced were these dental students saying, “You know, the saliva injector is something we have to pump by our foot while the patient is having his dental work done. And then after a while, something happens, and it reverses itself.”
Well, just the imagery of a saliva injector reversing itself from a common pot, so to speak, it won the day. And we put that dental school right at the top of the list.

Former Oregon Medical Examiner William J. Brady, M.D., interviewed by Matt Simek, May 23, 2007, on winning his first election:
Simek: Would you say that’s unusual, that an opponent would endorse his opponent?

Brady: Well, the whole election that year was very, very interesting and unusual situation. There was a layman who ran, was involved in the Republican primary, didn’t make it. His platform consisted of, ballot slogan, "[name] is dead right," and he was going to adjust the morgue to put a restaurant at the top of the morgue, and he would call it the Top of the Morgue. It was an unusual election. It was unusual. These are all true stories, honestly. [laughs]

Portland anesthesiologist Joanne Jene, M.D., interviewed by Matt Simek, August 23, 2007, on things you never see anymore:
Jene: We’re doing much, much teaching with the medical simulator so that people can get real life experience on a dummy, if you will. And that’s a great enhancement. Because you train to take care of the unexpected or the complication that may occur during a procedure under anesthesia. But you can go through a whole lifetime and never experience that situation.
And I will use as an example malignant hyperthermia, which is an anesthesia-triggered disease. It’s the only one anesthesia triggers. And it’s a combination of a genetic composition of the patient and drugs that you may use which will trigger an automatic release of a hyperthermia, or increase of the temperature of the patient. And usually this is in children. And the temperature could go from 37 degrees or 98.6 to 105 in a matter of minutes. And this is a life threatening anesthesia emergency. And I think that one of the things that we’ve done is develop the fact that Dantrolene is a medication that every hospital and every ambulatory surgical unit must have on hand. But also, it really becomes a team effort to resuscitate and save a patient.
And you may never see this in your lifetime. I had one case. Only one in my lifetime. It was in 1964. And at that time, there was no Dantrolene. We had no pulse oximeters. We barely measured the patient’s temperature. We had no monitors that we have now. And unfortunately, the patient died. I knew that there was a problem. It took time to define what the problem was. And then the only thing that we really had to treat the patient was sedation and ice. That was it. And then they go into a super hyper coagulability situation where the blood all begins to clot and then they begin to bleed.
So it was terrible, but there wasn’t anything. Now we do know how to treat it, how to recognize it. And that’s probably one of the greatest threats and challenges of anesthesia, but one of the biggest rewards that when you make the diagnosis, you can treat it.

Simek: Was that a child?

Jene: It was a sixteen year-old boy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

F.A. Kiehle, ophthalmologist

Last week, we received a small donation of turn-of-the-century medical books from an alumnus of the University of Oregon Medical School Class of 1953. A few are very nice and may be kept for our collections, while a few are in very sad shape and will likely be recycled. Several of them (5 of 16) had ownership markings of Frederick A. Kiehle, M.D., local ophthalmologist and early member of the faculty here at the Medical School, from 1912-1945. A graduate of the medical school at the University of Minnesota, Kiehle practiced in Salt Lake City from 1902-1908, when he relocated to Portland. Aside from his work at the medical school and in private practice, Kiehle was also a director of the Portland Public Library Association and, further, he was instrumental in establishing special services for visually handicapped students in the Portland public schools.

In last week's donation, we received Kiehle's copies of The genuine works of Hippocrates, Osler's Aequanimitas, and Larsell's The Doctor in Oregon. The latter includes a presentation inscription from the author to Kiehle. A two-volume set of Cushing's Life of Osler bears a presentation inscription to Kiehle from Thomas Lamb Eliot, while a copy of the relatively scarce Refraction of the eye, its diagnosis and the correction of its errors by A. Stanford Morton has two manuscript letters from the author to Kiehle tipped in. Some of the other donated texts may also have belonged to Kiehle, though no evidence of that provenance survives within the volumes themselves. All in all, a nice little glimpse into the personal collection of an early Portland physician. Four titles already in the book collections here have Kiehle provenance.

Up in the archives, we have a collection of Kiehle's glass lantern slides, the Frederick Kiehle Slide Collection, Accession No. 2001-007. The guide and inventory for that collection are both available online from our web site.