History of Medicine

Danny Jones History of the Health Sciences Essay Award Winner

Please join us in congratulating Jacob Canfield (School of Medicine), this years’ winner of the Danny Jones History of the Health Sciences Essay Award sponsored by the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Library. This annual contest was established in memory of Danny Jones, M.L.S., who served as Head of Special Collections at the UT Health at San Antonio Briscoe Library and who was also a Past President of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

Jacob is a first year medical student from Fort Worth. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University Commerce and is involved with the organizations Frontera de Salud and Access Care Texas here at UT Health San Antonio. Jacob loves nature, history, and fossil hunting!

Pictured here congratulating Jacob is Owen Ellard, Senior Director of Libraries. Jacob’s essay was entitled Anti-Vax: 19th Century Insights into a Modern Healthcare Issue. For those of you who would like to hear more about Jacob’s essay, he will be providing a presentation on his topic during the Student Fiesta celebration being planned for April.

A copy of Jacob’s essay is provided here: Canfield,Jacob_EssayAward_2019.

Deadline to Enter Danny Jones Student Essay Contest – October 12

Enter the Danny Jones Student Essay Competition by October 12!

Painting of AvicennaThe Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library welcome submissions for the 2015 essay competition in memory of Danny Jones, MLS, who served as Head of Special Collections at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Library and who was also a Past President of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

The contest is open to current students in any of the schools of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, as well as affiliated interns, residents, and fellows. Unpublished essays in broad areas related to the history of the health sciences, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, or any other health science subject or profession, are eligible for submission. Previous essays not selected are also eligible for resubmission.

Word Limit
No more than 2500 words

Prize
$500

Submission
Please send entries in PDF format to finnie@uthscsa.edu by October 12, 2015.

For more information, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

Dentists Gone Bad! History of Medicine Society: February 24

Just when you thought it was safe to go to the dentist…

Photograph of Cecil the Lion

Irene Bober-Moken, DMD, MPH will present Dentists Gone Bad at the February 24 History of Medicine Society Meeting at 6 PM in the Library Classrooms 2.019/2.027/2.029 on the 2nd Floor of the Library.

Learn about dentist Larry Lavin, the King of Coke, and Colin Howell, the murderer of both his wife and his former lover’s husband. Who could forget dentist Walter Palmer, the hunter of Cecil the Lion? Join us for these fascinating stories and more!

Membership in the History of Medicine Society is free, and meetings are open to the public. Light refreshments will be served!

For more information on the History of Medicine Society, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

 

 

 

Dentists: Prisoners of the Rising Sun – History of Medicine Society

Photograph of Dentist of the Rising Sun

How does one provide dental treatment without any instruments or materials while being used as slave labor along a death railroad? Simple, you forge your own instruments. Along with sculpting dental chairs out of termite mounds, making bamboo chairs, and tapping rubber trees for latex, 83 military dentists during their 45 months of captivity proved that necessity is the mother of invention.

Irene Bober-Moken, DMD, MPH presents Dentists: Prisoners of the Rising Sun at the August 19, 2015 meeting of the History of Medicine Society, a student-led interest group of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Membership in the History of Medicine Society is free, and meetings are open to the public.

When: August 19, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Where: Briscoe Library, Howe Conference Room (5th floor)

The History of Medicine Society has an exciting list of programs scheduled for this academic year! HOM_Activities_2015_2016. Hope to see you there!

For more information, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

 

 

Dr. Victoria Sweet to Speak March 17

Photograph of Dr. Victoria Sweet

This year’s One Community One Book author Victoria Sweet, MD, PhD will be on campus March 17 to present the Ewing Halsell Distinguished Lecture. A reception will be held at 5:30 pm in the Holly Auditorium lobby, followed by her presentation in the auditorium at 6:00 pm.

Dr. Sweet is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Following her MD from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Dr. Sweet earned an MA and a PhD in the History of the Health Sciences from the University of California, San Francisco. Her research focuses on 12th-century German abbess, composer, theologian, and medical practitioner Hildegard von Bingen.

In her book, God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, the author weaves stories of her experiences caring for patients at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, the last almshouse in the country, with her studies of medieval medical practice. In the process, Dr. Sweet comes to appreciate the importance of slow medicine and the efficiency of inefficiency.

Register for this event at https://www.texashumanities.org/.

For more information on One Community One Book, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

Francine Mary Netter Speaks at Friends Annual Dinner

This year’s Annual Dinner of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library was held on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at the Old San Francisco Steakhouse. One hundred and six registrants, including forty-eight students from the Health Science Center’s five schools and the Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy, enjoyed an evening of dining and fellowship.

 

Photograph of faculty and students at Friends Dinner

Faculty and Students Gather at the Friends Dinner

 

The highlight of the evening was Francine Mary Netter’s informative and entertaining presentation on the life and work of her father, famous medical illustrator Frank Netter, MD. She shared family memories and personal anecdotes about this extremely talented man, as well as images of sketches and paintings outside the realm of anatomy. Following her presentation, Francine Netter signed copies of her book, Medicine’s Michelangelo: The Life and Art of Frank H. Netter, MD.

 

Photograph of Francine Mary Netter signing a book

Francine Netter Signs  Dr. Irene Bober-Moken’s Book

 

For more information on the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 567-2406.

Francine Mary Netter to Speak at 45th Annual Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Dinner

Medicine’s Michelangelo: The Life and Art of Frank H. Netter, MD

Francine Mary Netter, daughter of famous medical illustrator Frank Netter, MD, will be the guest speaker at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Drawing on her personal remembrances, her father’s autobiographical notes, and hundreds of interviews, she will discuss his life and work and provide a personal glimpse into the man behind the art.

When

Photograph of Frank Netter, MD and Francine Mary Netter

Frank Netter, MD and Francine Netter
Photograph courtesy of Francine Netter

Thursday, November 5, 2015
Cash bar 6:30 PM
Dinner 7:00 PM

Where
Old San Francisco Steak House
10223 Sahara Street (off San Pedro north of Loop 410)

Cost
$55 per person
$35 for students (Student price includes dinner and annual membership in the Friends)

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library invite students to attend the dinner and to become members of the Friends. Students are encouraged to apply for sponsorships to cover the cost of registration and membership.

RSVP
Advanced registration is required.

Send completed Reservation_Form and sponsorship requests to Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu by October 23, 2015 or call 210-567-2406 for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full House for Nixon Lecture by Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Lecture Series continued in the new year with a full house for speaker Ronald Stewart, MD, FACS on the topic History of EMS and Trauma Systems. Dr. Stewart graduated from medical school and completed his surgical residency at UT Health at San Antonio. Following residency, he completed a two-year Trauma and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. He currently serves as the UT Health Professor and Chair/Dr. Witten B. Russ Chair in Surgery. Since 1996 Dr. Stewart has served as the Board Chair of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma. In May 2000, Governor George W. Bush appointed Dr. Stewart to the Governor’s Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Advisory Council where he has served since that time. He currently is the Vice Chair and the senior member of the Council. He served as the chair of the South Texas Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma for six years and followed for another six years as the ACS COT Region VI Chief (Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas). He currently serves on the national ACS Committee on Trauma.

Next in the series of lectures is the Experiences of a Congenital Heart Surgeon with speaker John Calhoon, M.D. on Wednesday February 12th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Howe Conference Room, 5th floor of Briscoe Library. Register here.

Gold Stemmed Pessaries: A Shadow of the Past

Pessary

Although the above medical device appears to just be a thingamajig from the local hardware store, it is not. It is a spring-stem wishbone pessary first developed in Germany in the 1880s and used through the late 1930s. Generally, today’s medical pessaries are used for three types of issues: a supportive device for organ prolapse, a vaginal suppository for delivering pharmacologic preparations, and birth control. The type of spring-stem wishbone pessary found in the Nixon Library is described as a remedy for uterine malposition or bleeding complaints, yet it is also widely recognized as an early modern intrauterine device.

Stones and Goop

The word pessary derives from the Greek word pessόs, which means oval stone similar to ones used in ancient checkers.  Historically, stone pessaries were used to remedy organ prolapse, and women in New Zealand were noted to place pebbles in the uterus to foster sterility. Stories abound of small rocks inserted into the uteri of camels during long desert journeys to disrupt the uterine cavity and prevent pregnancy. Uterine stones could not have been at all comfortable for woman or beast (yikes!).

Along with stones, an understanding of barrier contraceptive methods have been documented for thousands of years. Inventive birth control mixtures, often combined with magic and ritual, might include viscous pastes of honey, rancid oil, animal dung, tree resin, dates, or fermented acadia leaves soaked with lint.

By the time the late 19th century rolled around, pessaries evolved to include metal cervico-uterine models.  Physician Carl Hollweg patented a wishbone pessary in 1902 designed to “support the uterus”, and specifically, “prevent excessive and abnormal bending of this organ and to obviate and break apart any abnormal growth of tissue. . . ”. Considering Hollweg’s description, it seems its role in birth control was an unintended discovery. During the cervico-uterine heyday, the most well known wishbone spring-stem pessary in the United States was the Ideal, also known as the brooch, the butterfly, or the wishbone stem.

Arrangements and Regrets

Proper placement of the wishbone spring-stem pessary required a visit to a physician. The two flexible arms were squeezed together to create a linear form and encased in a gelatinous material to facilitate entry into the uterus. After insertion, the pessary’s concave button rested against the the external os and the spring stem sat within the cervical canal. When the gel casing melted due to body temperature, the arms would spring out laterally and the oval tips maintained the device’s position within the uterine cavity. Due to infection concerns, a physician typically left the wishbone pessary in place for only two to three months before removal. Once the uterus was free from a foreign object for several months, the pessary was reinserted.

It eventually became clear that using a stem pessary, which left the uterus vulnerable to pathogens, could be dangerous. Wishbone stem pessaries fell out of favor as evidence of infection, uterine perforation, and death began to mount. Additionally, some women who used this type of pessary for bPerforated uterus due to spring-stem pessaryirth control experienced a level of unreliability resulting in unintended pregnancy. These multiple side effects prompted improved intrauterine designs similar to what we see today.

Out of the Shadows

The Nixon Library owns two examples of gold-filled wishbone spring-stem pessaries. One is stamped “14K”, is approximately 0.5 inches in in diameter, and 2.5 inches in length.  The other is marked “GOLD”, approximately 1.0 inch in diameter, and 2.5 inches in length.  A concave disc supports a coiled stem at which two thin metal arms with flat, oval tipped ends project into a “V” position.

It would be our pleasure to bring these pessaries out of the historical shadows for viewing.  If you would like to examine these golden pessaries in person, please contact Mellisa DeThorne at DETHORNE@uthscsa.edu

Sources:

Cooper, J. F. (1928). Technique of contraception. New York, NY: Day-Nichols

Himes, N. E. (1934). Medical history of contraception. The New England Journal of Medicine, 210(11), 576-581.

Hollweg, C. (1902). U.S. Patent No. 709675. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved August 2017 from: https://www.google.com/patents/us709675.

Oliver, R., Thakar, R., & Sultan, A. H. (2011). The history and usage of the vaginal pessary: A review. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 156(2), 125-130.

Image sources:

Fotinos, D. (2017). Gold Spring-Stem Pessaries [Digital photograph].

Penetration of the uterus by gold stem pessary. [Online photograph]. Retrieved August 2017 from: www.jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/242995. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.27420190001008

[Untitled photograph of spring stem pessary with box]. Retrieved August 2017 from: www.fcgapultoscollection.com

-Diane Fotinos, B.S., PA

Highlights in the History of the Army Nurse Corps

Photograph of postcard adapted from poster: Join the Army Nurse Corps

Lark A. Ford, PhD, RN will present Highlights in the History of the Army Nurse Corps on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 12 Noon in the Howe Conference Room on the 5th floor of the Library. Dr. Ford will discuss key memorials to nursing from 1902 through 2000, the first century of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.

This lecture is being held in conjunction with the National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit, Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection, which will be on display on the 3rd floor of the Dolph Briscoe Jr. Library from April 4, 2016 to May 15, 2016.

Dr. Lark Ford is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management in the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing. She joined the nursing faculty in 2006 following 33 years of military service in the United States Army Nurse Corps, retiring at the rank of Colonel. Lark has earned a BSN in Nursing from the University of Maryland at Baltimore, an MSN in Nursing Administration from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, and an MA and a PhD from the School of Human and Organization Development at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

 

Photograph of the Army Nurse Corps Vietnam Women's Memorial

Army Nurse Corps Vietnam Women’s Memorial

 

This event is free and open to everyone. Please, bring your lunch and join us for dessert!

For more information, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.