A Quote from the Past Inspires the Future

I love to explore the connectedness of people through our history and to make it relevant to something that is topical and related to Henry Ford Hospital.

Some of you know that one of the quotes that inspires me and that I have sitting above my desk is by Daniel Hudson Burnham.

Burnham was an American architect and urban designer in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION, Chicago 1893. Architects by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. Photo shows the Lagoon with statues and Agricultural Building on right.

World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893. Architects by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. Photo shows the Lagoon with statues and Agricultural Building on right.

 

He was the father of the Chicago School of Architecture and co-authored the Chicago Plan of 1909, which laid out plans for that city’s future. He was also the Director of Works for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (often called the “Chicago World’s Fair”).

You may have heard about Burnham from the book “Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson.

The book is set in Chicago around 1893, intertwining the true story of Burnham and the 1893 World’s Fair with the also true story of Dr. H.H. Holmes, a serial killer.

An entertaining book, that you may have also heard is being made into a feature film to be directed by Martin Scorsese to star Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Holmes.

So what is the connection with Henry Ford Hospital? Continue reading

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A Detroit Bond Leads to Dr. F. Janney Smith History

As we’ve been celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, I’ve had the great opportunity to hear and read many personal stories about your history at Henry Ford, and reminisce with colleagues about the days when we were interns and residents, just beginning our medical careers.

JS med school skit

F. Janney Smith (middle, with headgear and fake mustache) participating in a skit with other medical students at Johns Hopkins in 1911, where they’ve successfully removed a football from a patient, pleasing their professor.

One personal history, however, stood out for me. It came from a shared Detroit bond, decades in the making.

In early spring, Dr. Richard Dryer forwarded an email to me. The email, from his daughter Mary Beth Dryer, included an interesting conversation between her and Dr. Steven Smith about their shared connection to Henry Ford Hospital.

Both had fathers employed at Henry Ford Hospital. But nearly 60 years separated their fathers’ medical careers.

Amazingly, Dr. Smith’s father was none other than Dr. F. Janney Smith.

As I wrote in a previous blog post, Dr. F. Janney Smith was among the first wave of physicians at the hospital. In fact, he was the first recruit of Physician-In-Chief Dr. Frank Sladen, and the first cardiologist in Michigan.

Dr. F. Janney Smith, who graduated from Johns Hopkins an unbelievable 102 years ago, was the head of cardio-respiratory diseases.

By 1919, he established the hospital’s first inpatient unit for cardio-respiratory disease and brought some new technology, the electrocardiogram, to Henry Ford Hospital. Continue reading

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A Celebration a Century in the Making

Wow, what a day!

Today marks our 100th year of operation.

On July 13, 1915, the first patient was admitted to Henry Ford Hospital, long before the hospital was “officially” ready to receive patients on Oct. 1, 1915.

Henry Ford Health System's first-ever float, which will make its debut in America's Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Art Van.

Henry Ford Health System’s first-ever float, which will make its debut in America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Art Van.

As I wrote in a post on Doc in the D one year ago, several patients were admitted to the basement area of the unfinished hospital (today’s M-Unit) because of the great needs of patients in our city at that time.

Since then, Henry Ford Hospital, and subsequently Henry Ford Health System, has continuously worked to transform health care for our patients, most notably through the development of the Henry Ford Medical Group, and our significant role in medical education, research and innovation.

None of this would be possible, however, without our employees.

Today marked the first of many employee events scheduled throughout Henry Ford Health System to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.

Today marked the first of many employee events scheduled throughout Henry Ford Health System to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.

You are the lifeblood of this institution. Your commitment is truly the reason why so many of us have spent the entirety of our careers here, myself included.

Today we had the opportunity to celebrate and thank you – for your tireless work and unwavering dedication – at the first of many employee events to commemorate our 100 year anniversary scheduled through the end of August across Henry Ford Health System. Continue reading

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Drive-Thru Polio Clinic

Late 1940s brought a new concept to American dining: the drive-thru window.

The drive-thru was a quick, convenient take on the popular drive-in restaurant of the time, best remembered by its carhops on roller skates and trays attached to the car window during the heydays of cruising in the 1950s and 1960s.

So why talk about the advent of the drive-thru window in a blog largely focused on health care and medicine?

June 24, 1962: Henry Ford Hospital's drive-thru Oral Polio Vaccine Program in the hospital parking garage. From the Conrad R. Lam Collection, Henry Ford Health System.

June 24, 1962: Henry Ford Hospital’s drive-thru Oral Polio Vaccine Program in the hospital parking garage. From the Conrad R. Lam Collection, Henry Ford Health System.

In the early 1960s, medicine borrowed a page from the drive-thru window’s concept of fast, “don’t-even-need-to-leave-your-car” convenience in a radical effort to eradicate polio – a crippling disease that sicken tens of thousands of Americans in the early 20th century.

Most people infected with the polio virus had no symptoms; however, for the less than 1% who developed paralysis it resulted in permanent disability and even death.

Henry Ford Hospital was one of many hospital across the nation to host a drive-thru polio vaccination program in the 1960s. The Oral Polio Vaccine Program was directed by Dr. Edward L. Quinn, founder of the hospital’s division of Infectious Diseases.

During the three-hour event on June 24, 1962, 438 cars made their way through the hospital’s parking garage. In all, 1,595 doses of the Sabin Oral Vaccine were administered. Continue reading

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Clara Ford & The School of Nursing

This week we celebrate the role of nursing in health care and at Henry Ford Hospital.

Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1927

Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1927, courtesy of the Conrad R. Lam Archives.

In previous blog posts, I’ve described the creation of the Henry Ford Medical Group, an idea that Henry Ford moved forward as influenced by meeting with the Mayo brothers.

Many of Henry’s other ideas about health care and the medical practices needed to support Detroit during Henry Ford Hospital’s formative years were directly influenced by his wife, Clara.

Most importantly, Clara was the major advocate of developing excellence in nursing that continues to this day at Henry Ford.

Being a great believer in the caring nature of nursing and its pivotal role in the medical care provided to patients, Clara was the driving force in developing the Henry Ford School of Nursing and Hygiene on the hospital campus.

The school included two new buildings, both designed by renowned architect, Albert Kahn: the 300-room Clara Ford Nurses Home (today’s Clara Ford Pavilion) and the Education Building (now home to the Innovation Institute).

Clara also worked closely with a designer to ensure that both the private rooms and the common areas were outfitted with precision.

Most notably, the parlor of the Clara Ford Nurses Home was elegantly designed with ornate chandeliers.

To get a feel for how magnificent the parlor, take a look at the 1978 film, “The Betsy,” which was filmed, in part, on the first floor of Clara Ford Nurses Home. In addition, the Education Building featured classrooms, a pool, squash courts and a gymnasium with a stage for special events.

In 1925, the School enrolled its first class of 93 students. Two classes were admitted each year, one in January and the other in September. The class size was limited to 100 students.

Women came from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe to attend the prestigious 28-month program. Students accepted into the tuition-free school lived free-of-charge at the Clara Ford Nurses Home. Continue reading

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Celebrating a “Century of Life” at Detroit Historical Museum

It’s one thing to look at photos and read about our history.

It’s quite another to have the opportunity to walk through the past 10 decades and experience our institution’s driving, sustaining force in clinical care, research, medical education and innovation.

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary, the Detroit Historical Museum has offered the opportunity to do just that with the opening of the special exhibit “Henry Ford Health System: 100 Years Measured in Life.”

On display in the museum’s Community Gallery through Jan. 3, 2016, the exhibit chronicles the birth and development of Henry Ford Hospital, one Detroit’s best-known and one of the nation’s most-respected healthcare institutions.

The exhibit begins in 1915 with auto pioneer Henry Ford taking control of the stalled 48-bed Detroit General Hospital project (today’s Henry Ford Hospital).

Nancy Schlichting, Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of our hospital's founder, and I tour the exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum.

Nancy Schlichting, Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of our hospital’s founder, and I tour the exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum.

It tracks the health system’s century of growth with 100 stories of transforming health and life through medical innovation and unwavering dedication to quality and community.

I had the opportunity to visit the exhibit last week.

I was blown away by the experience – the attention to detail, the historic artifacts, incredible images and interactive displays. Continue reading

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Henry Ford Cardiologist was First Voice Against the Tuskegee Study

The headline in the research journal was so startling that Dr. Irwin Schatz had to read it several times before it sunk in:

“The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis: 30 years of Observation”

The year was 1964 and Dr. Schatz was a young cardiologist at Henry Ford Hospital when he came upon the study.

Dr. Irwin Schatz (Photo courtesy of The John A. Burns School of Medicine)

Dr. Irwin Schatz (Photo courtesy of The John A. Burns School of Medicine)

Little did he know at the time that his subsequent actions and response to the study would become a lasting legacy, a point remembered and celebrated in pieces written this week in the New York Times and Washington Post to mark Dr. Schatz’s recent passing at the age of 83.

Dr. Schatz was called the “first, lonely voice” to object to the now-infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama.

Only four years out of medical school and with limited resources, Dr. Schatz was truly courageous in his actions.

Objecting to the experiments on uneducated black men of the Tuskegee, Dr. Schatz wrote a scathing letter to the study authors at the U.S. Public Health Service.

While there was no treatment for syphilis when the study began in 1932, there certainly was a proven, effective treatment available to patients when the study was published – a point strongly noted in the letter Dr. Schatz wrote to the study authors in 1965.

The study had deliberately withheld treatment from the men – and in most cases, the men were not even told that they had this potentially fatal disease, passing it along to women and children. Continue reading

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Model G Has Patients Covered at Henry Ford Hospital

A few years ago, I blogged about my MRI experience as a patient at Henry Ford Hospital. I called the blog post “Tweets from Inside the MRI,” as I recanted my appointment in short, 40-character quips or “tweets.”

As you may recall, several of my “tweets” in that blog post were devoted to the much maligned hospital gown:


Dr. John Popovich
@docinthed
Are any hospital gowns made for someone over 6 feet?

 

Dr. John Popovich @docinthed
Need two gowns, you don’t want to see what’s behind #youtube

 


Dr. John Popovich
@docinthed
Who doesn’t look good in a thigh-length gown, black socks and loafers? Eat your heart out #GeorgeClooney!

 

All kidding aside, it was a great experience – the physicians, nurses, support staff and technicians were absolutely first rate.

But that hospital gown.

Well, now we have a solution that, thanks to the Henry Ford Innovation Institute. Continue reading

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Our First Female Physicians

World War II was a turning point for women in the workforce of the United States.

Rosie the RiveterThe now-iconic image of Rosie the Riveter was emblematic of the patriotic need for women to enter the industrial labor workforce due to widespread male enlistment in the war.

Between 1940 and 1945, females in the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent. By 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home.

But opportunity wasn’t limited to factories; hospitals, too, felt the impact of war.

At Henry Ford Hospital, many staff joined the war effort in some capacity – 182 physicians, 105 nurses and 60 other personnel members.

While the decline in hospital workforce during World War II did not have the same effect as World War I (where the hospital was left unable to function and turned over to the Army for use, as previously discussed on Doc in the D), it undoubtedly had an impact on hospital operations.

Most notably, the war created a tremendous nursing shortage.

By 1942, roughly 10,000 nurses across the country served in the war. And more were still needed at home and abroad.

The war years also opened up other medical positions for women – many of whom joined the Henry Ford Hospital staff. Continue reading

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Early Discoveries: Ormond’s Disease

Medicine is flush with eponymous diseases named in honor of the individual who described it or died from the condition.

Dr. John K. Ormond. (From the Conrad R. Lam Collection, Henry Ford Health System, ID=04-045)

Dr. John K. Ormond. (From the Conrad R. Lam Collection, Henry Ford Health System, ID=04-045)

  • Huntington’s disease for Dr. George Huntington, who diagnosed himself, his father and grandfather with this neurodegenerative disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, named in honor of the famous baseball player who succumbed to the disease in 1941
  • Parkinson’s disease for Dr. James Parkinson, an apothecary surgeon and political activist who first described the “paralysis agitans” condition that would later bear his name
  • And, Ormond’s Disease for John K. Ormond, the first chief of urology at Henry Ford Hospital, who established the clinical and pathological entity of idiopathic retroperitoneal fibrosis

Ormond’s Disease was one of the many early discoveries at Henry Ford Hospital that extended beyond medical devices to include new diseases.

Dr. Ormond was among the first wave of Henry Ford Hospital physicians, joining the staff shortly after Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Roy McClure in 1916.

By 1926, Dr. Ormond officially established the Department of Urology and became the department’s chief.

But he would ultimately leave his mark in medicine with a discovery in 1948. Continue reading

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