a brief look into our past history

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  • AUGUST 1970

    The Amer ican Journa l o f Surgery VOLUME 120

    NUMBER 2


    A Brief Look into Our Past History

    H. BRODIE STEPHENS, MD, San Francisco. California

    It is indeed with profound humility that I thank you for the h~nor you have bestowed upon me. Reviewing zhc presidcmial addresses that have appeared in print since 1927. I am impressed with the limitations of the l,.nowlcdgc of )'our present President. I do not feel qualilicd to discuss one or any of the many urgent prob- lems thz~t 0rganizcd medicine is facing today or to enter intt) the problems associated with space-age medicine or the Iransphmtation of human organs. 1 have elected. therefore, to provide a brief look into the history of our Associatkm, hoping thereby to better acquaint our youngcr members with the ideas of our Founding Members and the true meaningof the Pacific Coast Surgical Association.

    Doctor Edgar Gilcrcest [1] relates the founding and development of the Pac}fic COast Surgical Associa- tion in the Transactions of .'he Pacific Coast Surgical ,kssociation published in i 954. This marked the twenty- ;ifth anniversary meeting. (There were no meetings of ,mr Association during the years 1942, 1943, 1944; :rod 1945.) At that time (1954) Doctor Gilcreest was the last surviving member of the group of four men who ignited the spark for the founding of 0u? Association. Doctor Gilcreest died on December 7, 1964 at the age of eighty-two years.

    The Founders Mecting was held in San Francisco ha April 1925. Invitations to attend the meeting were sent to thirty-nine surgeons on tile Pacific Coast, thirty- six of whom attended. The Pacific Coast Surgical Asso- ciation was modeled somewhat, along the lines of the Southern Surgical AssociS:tionl Dignity, graciousness, and cordiality were to be linked with a high caliber

    Presented at the Forty-First Annual Meeting of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association, San Francisco, California. February 15-18. 1970.

    of scientific presentations. It was the intention of the Founders that there should be a true spirit of com- radship among the members. The wives of the mem- bers have always occupied a position in the Association equal in importance to that of their husbands. This is the spirit we have attempted to preserve.

    Before World War n the scientific sessions of tile organization were held at a resort area. Operative and nonoperative clinics were held in one of the larger cities on the West Coast and the scientific sessions were conducted in a resort area. If the meeting was in Seattle. the scientific session was in Victoria; when in Portland, the scientific session was in Gearhart; when in San Francisco, the scientific session was at Del Monte; and when the meeting was in Los Angeles, the scientific session was in Santa Barbara.

    The members of our Association who have served in the offices of Recorder and Secretary-Treasurer and those members who have comprised our program committees have given throughout the years devoted and countless hours of service and through their un- selfish labors have maintained the type and quality of a surgical association our Founders envisioned. Two of our former officers have been honored by a festschrift edition of The American Journal oj Sur- getT. The March ] 966 issue of The American Journal o[ Surgery [2] was dedicated to Doctor Clarence J. Berne. At that time Dr Berne had completed twenty- five years of tenure as Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Doctor Berne served as Recorder of our Association from 1951 through 1958. In addition Dr Berne was President of our Association in 1959.

    The 1969 October issue of 771e American Journal

    Volume 120. August 1970 129

  • Presidential Address

    o[ Surgery [31 was dedicated to Doctor Carlcton Mathewson, Jr as a tribute to his thirty-six years as teacher of surgery, Doctor Mathewson scrved as Sec- retary of our Association between 194.8 and 1962. Doctor Mathewson was, in addition. President of our Association in 1963.

    The transactions of our Association, insofar as I can detern3ine, appeared in printed form for tile first time in 1931 [4]. The material was editcd :lfid pub- lished by the Western Journal of Surgery. Obstetrics and Gynec~Llogy, and in 1931 appeared in a bound volume (the Pacific Coast Surgical Association having adopted the Western Jotawal o] Sur,eerv, Obstetric~ and Gynecology as its olficial organ this same year, 1931). No edditional transactions were printed until 1954. Since 1954, the Transactions of our Associa- tion have been published yearly by The American lournal oj Surgery,

    A few of the papers presented in 1926, 1927, 1929, and 1930 ~ire stored in our Archives. Tile papers presented in Gearhart, Oregon in 1928 arc abstracted in the Medical Sentilje[ [5]. The Medical Sentinel became the tVestern Journal of Surgery, Obstetrics and Gnyecology in September 1930 I6].

    The papers presented before our Association from the years 1931 to 1954 appear in different monthly issues of the Western Jotawal o/ Surgery, Obrtetriev and Gynecology. The discussions that followed these papers appeared fairly regularly during these years.

    Our Association rendered financial support to the Western Journal o/ Surgery, Ob~'tetrics and Gyne- colog:~' and grateful acknowledgment of this support appears in an editorial in 1,936 [7].

    This gavel I hold. in nay hand was presented to the Association in 193! at the meeting in Victoria. The wood of the gavel was from a locust tree planted by Doctor William Fraser Tolmie, one of the first doctors on Puget Sound. The copper on each side of the gavel was taken from the Steamship Beaver, the first steamship on the Pacific Ocean, The Beaver was built in Blackwall, London. England in 1834 and sailed into Puget Sound in 1837 [8],

    Since the first scientific session of our Association in 1926, our members have contributed considerably to the advancement of our specialty. We have out- grown the days of dry and wet clinics, but the active discussion that follows a presentation remains a char- acteristic of our scientific program.

    I know it wilt be of interest to you if I mention a few of the .many contributions to our specialty that have made by members of our Association. Doctor Robertson Ward in I925 [91 recommended continuous gastric drainage in the treatffmnt of generalized peri- tonitis, postoperative ileus, intestinal obstruction, and acute gastric dilatation and demonstrated an original apparatus to accomplish such drainage,

    Doctor Louis Gambce [101 ill ~946 described a single layer, open intestinal anastomosis. Ten years later l)octor Gambce [/11 reported his experience with this original technic. I quote from his 1956 pre- sentation: "This study is also motivalcd partly by our conviction that those who describe innovations in surgery are obliged m nmke kno,.vn their c'~enlual results." The Ganlbce sthd/ is usctl by many surgcon~; today, particularly in fl~e Heincke-XJikulicz pyloro= plasty.

    Although wc are still a young ,,\,~s~ci:ati~m, live n~cm- bcrs of our ,~\ss(.Vi;ltion icpresc l l l w.llc sccot ld genera- tion of our membership. The fa{hers of l)~wtor,~ Raiph Loc. Tale Mason. and Frank Itinman. Jr ~crc Founder Members. Doctor Eugene R~wkcv',, fatllcr WaS an tl~)norary tllClttb,...'r a[l~,l ~'~i5; t~rt'~l}l~.:r P;3.uI. ;l Founder Member. Cicne was Prc'ddent of our As~ocia- lion in i949. [)ocu~r G,,r&m Smhh*s father w;~s P~c'-.i- dent of our Association in 193 1

    Our first P res ident was De, c lo t ( 'ha l le ' , l ~ck ; ,~ , 'd of Pasadena Doctor I .ock, ,vood d ied al l:he ;~,,,c of sixty-four years in I932 after a few da;Cs ilh~.c,~, with er>sipelas. The s[erling qu:,,lilics and many ;,,c- complishmcnts of our lir~,t President ~vcrc described in an obituary by his comrad-in-arms of Werkl War 1, Doctor Edgar Gilcrcest. l)ocmr l.ock',~od,, ,Mcm~ir~ [12] appear in the September 1933 iv, at of S;,r- geO'. Gynecoh 'k'Y amt Oh.,letrh::..

    l woukl recommend that all of you at votlr leisure read the presidential addresses of our Asse~ciation. "File Presidentkd Address of l)oct~.~r Stanley Sill!man (1927) and that of Dt~tor Robert Coi!cy { I-')281 arc in our archives. Unfortunately I have been unable Io find the presidential addresses of Doctors Charles Lockwood. Stewart l..obinger, Wallace "Ferry. Harold Brunn, Howard Nafziger. and William Krogcr.

    These addresses are delightful reading and cover a diverse number of topics. "Then and Now~Personal Recollections," tile title of tile Presidential Address of Doctor Emmett Rixford [13] presented in 1933. gives a vivid picture of surgery before and after tile turn of the century, Doctor Rixford died at the age of seventy-three years in 1938. The magnitude of this man is portrayed in his obituary [14] and in Doc- tor Wayland Morrison's [15] Presidential Address presented in 1938.

    Doctor Homer, Dudley's address 116] delivered in 1947 and entitled. "Some Facts About the Hand." is a masterful presentation. Doctor Dudley was Chief of the Division of Hand Surgery, King County Hospital. Seattle. Doctor Dudley died in 1950 at the age of seventy-three years. His obituary [17] appears in the 1950 edition of .the Western Journal oj Surgery, Ob- stetrics and Gynecology.

    Doctor Alexander Hepler's Presidential Address [18] is entitled "The Medical Paper." This address

    130 The American Journal of Surgery

  • wa.~ presented in 19S3 and contains many useful hints on how to construct and write a medical paper.

    The presidential addresses of" Doctor Caleb Stone [19] presented in 1959, Doctor Robert Scarborougl~ [20] delivered in 1961. and Doctor Lyman Brewer [21] of last year concern the responsibil it ies our members must :3,;su