Medicine’s Past In Oregon Comes Alive On the Video ScreenFriday, April 29th, 2011
Post by Matt Simek, Producer, History of Medicine Project, Oregon Medical Education Foundation
I remember being shocked when I finished my residency and returned to Ontario, how primitive the operating room was. There was no air conditioning … there was a nun who circulated, swatting flies while we operated, because the flies would get in through the open windows. Gus Tanaka, MD
For more than a decade, the Oregon Medical Education Foundation (OMEF) and the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have been collecting a fascinating array of in-depth interviews from practitioners of the healing arts. Now numbering nearly 70 oral histories of allopathic physicians, osteopathic physicians, traditional healers, and others, the OMEF/OHSU goal is a multi-part documentary film on the history of medicine in Oregon, from Native Americans to the present day.
My … oldest brother, Eldy, examined me to make sure that I wasn’t hurt, … And he said, “Well, I’m going to be a doctor.” And he looked at my next brother, Kenny, and he said, “You’re going to be a dentist.” He looked at my sister. “You’re going to be a nurse.” And he said to me, “You’re going to be an undertaker.” I said, “I am not! I’m going to be a doctor!” I was five years old. I never changed my mind. Harold Osterud, MD
The project’s Steering Committee, chaired by dedicated historians including Dr. Harold Osterud and Dr. Roy Payne, has guided the project’s vision through a broad spectrum of topics and personalities. Project participants have included NOHA members Sara Piasecki (formerly OHSU), Maija Anderson (Head, OHSU Historical Collections and Archives), Teresa Bergen (transcriptions) and Matt Simek (producer). Oral history recordings have been taken all across the state and have ranged from 30 minutes to nearly four hours. As project funding grows, producers expect to complete its first broadcast program in two years.
The first ASD that we did was using a well technique, in which a rubber dam is attached to the right atrium and the clamp is removed from the atrium and blood comes into the dam, and then you could put your finger in and feel the atrial septal defect and then, by feel, suture a patch in the defect. Albert Starr, MD
In the near future, as the Oregon Medical Association revises its website, streaming video clips from these oral history interviews will be posted at www.theoma.org … click on the History of Medicine In Oregon project on the Home Page to see new clips as they are periodically added.
When I arrived in Oregon … psychiatry had just become familiar with a new drug, Thorazine, which had not existed until about 1954. … South Hospital had been designed in 1950, ’51, before this drug had been discovered. At that time, they used the hot tubs, they used ice cold packs to wrap patients in.… They used electric shock with great frequency…. The treatment had changed entirely by the time the hospital was opened. George Saslow, PhD, MD