- Recollections and Reflections on Education, Diabetes, Other Metabolic Diseases, and Nutrition in the Mayo Clinic and Associated Hospitals, 1919-50
- Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 1, Number 3, Spring 1958
- pp. 237-277
- View Citation
- Additional Information
RECOLLECTIONS AND REFLECTIONS ON EDUCATION, DIABETES, OTHER METABOLIC DISEASES, AND NUTRITION IN THE MAYO CLINIC AND ASSOCIATED HOSPITALS, 1919-50 RUSSELL M. WILDER, Ph.D., M.D., M.A.C.P.* I.Apologia This is an abridgment ofmemoirs written in 1954 for the library ofthe Mayo Clinic. My retirement from the Clinic came in 1950. As I review these memoirs, it annoys me to find so many personal pronouns . It was not my intention to make them autobiographical, but I was so much involved in what was considered that it had to be that way. I was the "Odysseus," in a sense, of this particular Odyssey—but an Odysseus who was fully appreciative ofthe advantages to a scientific life provided by the atmosphere ofthe Mayo Clinic, where there can be, and is, such intimate rubbing-together of shoulders and brains and where opportunities for helping one another are so many. It was in the Mayo spirit of "my brother and I" that I wrote, and the "I" part I begged the reader to put in lower case. II.Exordium In its early years the Mayo Clinic, having developed from the practices of the Doctors Mayo, was concerned primarily with surgery. Patients with diseases of all kinds were examined, but hospitalization was restricted, insofar as possible, to those for whom a surgical operation would be helpful. Other patients were referred back to their home physicians or elsewhere with reports regarding their examinations and suggestions as to therapy. Then, in 1915, came the arrangement with the University ofMinne- * Emeritus Chief, Department of Medicine, Mayo Foundation, University of Minnesota, Rochester, Minnesota. 237 sota whereby the practice of the Mayo Clinic was to provide facilities for the training of graduate physicians in Rochester in the several specialties of medicine as well as in surgery. The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research was established for these purposes as a part ofthe Graduate School of the University ofMinnesota, and the necessity arose of extending facilities for bedside teaching in medicine and for clinical investigation. This, in brief, was the explanation I was given by Dr. Will (Mayo) and Dr. Wilson for being asked to join the staff. I came in the early fall of 1919, having recently completed two years ofservice in the Army Medical Corps, preceded by a year ofpostgraduate work in organic chemistry at the University ofChicago, six months ofclinical study in Vienna, and two years ofteaching and clinical research as an instructor at Rush Medical College and as a resident in the Presbyterian Hospital ofChicago. As a resident in medicine, my duties had been general. They included assisting Dr. Rollin Woodyatt in the care of diabetic patients; furthermore, such research as I was then engaged in was principally in diabetes. III. Activities ofthe 1920's A. BEGrNNTNGS Responsibility for the care of diabetic patients coming to the Mayo Clinic had been placed on Dr. David M. Berkman's shoulders. He, too, had recently returned from military service overseas. Dr. Berkman had established a diabetic service on the first floor ofwhat was then the Stanley Hospital, a three-story building. He had twelve rooms, none of them large enough for more than a single bed. In one he had installed a diet kitchen, presided over by Miss Daisy Ellithorpe. She and Dr. Berkman, guided byJoslin's already famous text, The Treatment ofDiabetes Mellitus, were weighing foods and meticulously following the then-popular "fasting " management ofthe disease. My time at first was almost equally divided between the study ofdiabetic patients in the Stanley Hospital and general diagnosis at the Mayo Clinic. I was appointed an associate to Dr. George B. Eusterman, together with Dr. Berkman and Dr. Howard B. Hartman. Among some vivid memories ofthose days is one concerning a woman who had come from Winnipeg to the "Mayo Brothers." Most members of the staff were youthful in appearance at that time, and this patient had not come this 238 Russell M. Wilder · Recollections and Reflections Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Spring 1958 long distance to be examined by "mere boys," as she called us. To my first question she replied, "Now when do I see Dr. Mayo?" I learned some helpful lessons that...