Robert M. Barnett, Sr., MD
War II, I was in the Navy V12 program. I spent about a year at Great Lakes
Naval Hospital and the first quarter of medical school, Northwestern University.
I don't really know how orthopaedic surgery was practiced in the field
because I was a student. The only exposure I had was at Great Lakes, and
I was the lowest on the totem pole. But I saw that patients are tough,
they all survive.
I think we
learned that early operative treatment for significant launch was terribly
important, and antibiotics. A lot of the things came out of WWII, but,
you know, as a student, I can't speak to the medical progress first hand.
Talk about the Korean War and I can answer from personal experience. I
do know that big advances in hand surgery began during the Second War.
I worked with Bunnell once a week for three months; he was the kingpin
and revised hand surgery into something scientific. He was fantastic.
one in World War II was Loyal Davis, a neurosurgeon in Chicago. He thought
he was just a couple of notches above God, but he did establish a number
of very good principles, particularly in brain surgery, that were used
during the Second War, that were very good for the patients. I hate the
guy's guts, but I'll give him all the credit I can. His daughter was Ronald
Reagan's wife, Nancy Davis. He was at ((Passavant??)) Hospital in Chicago,
which is now re-named. He made rounds in the trucks??, cut away, that's
how much he thought of himself. His hands were bronzed and on his desk,
but he did wonderful things during the War.
I went into
orthopaedics because I'm a sort of a general handyman-carpenter, so I
like the mechanics of it. Besides that, the patients get well, they don't
have multiple organs system diseases???. There have been advances since
the war. We've got a lot more tools to work with, and we've got more devices
to use. I've had a 35 year interest in club feet at the Shrine Hospital
in Minneapolis. It was post-war, but, that's in my lifetime. So I learned
a lot about club feet, and I think I made a very significant contribution.
I think the
doctors today, as a general group, are kind of lousy in patient care.
They don't listen to patients talk anymore. They rely on laboratories
and various kinds of imaging, and they forgot to listen to the patient.
The patient knows a hell of a lot about himself, if you'd just listen.
Anyway, that's an aside. I was trained ending in 1956, my residency, and
I've been in resident teaching thereafter. I don't think there's one operation
that I learned as a resident that is still even thought of today, let
alone done. Everything is changed, and it'll change again. The speed of
change is so fast, it's a new language.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily
those of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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