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The Clarence Dennis Papers

Letter from Clarence Dennis to H. B. Zimmermann pdf (2,575,026 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Clarence Dennis to H. B. Zimmermann
NOTE: Zimmermann's name is spelled incorrectly in letter.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (2,575,026 Bytes)
1934-02-03 (February 3, 1934)
Dennis, Clarence
Zimmermann, H. B.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Early Career and the Development of the Heart-Lung Machine, 1935-1951
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 37
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1934-2000
SubSeries: General Correspondence, 1934-2000
Folder: 1934-1939
February 3, 1934.
Dear Dr. Zimmerman,
I wrote and mailed to you a letter on the present subject some two and a half weeks ago, but after asking Chuck Sommers about it, I have concluded that I sent it to the wrong address. He suggested I send this one to Sunfish Lake, so that is what I am doing. What is weighing on my mind is the question of internships, which, even though far off in the future, is already enough to make a difference in my immediate plans.
What I eventually hope to do is to return to St. Paul to start practice. I have just had a talk with E. C. Andrus, assistant-dean of the medical school here, about the choice of internships in view of these plans. He was rather against interning in St. Paul or Minneapolis, saying that it would be wiser to get a more "broadened background" before settling at home. As to interning at Hopkins, the instruction seems poor in many respects, though there is much to recommend it; one is greatly concerned with appearing well in the eyes of the powers that be and in diagnosis rather than practical work; in addition it is a long slow process before one's training broadens out to be more than a rather narrow surgical training.
Dr. Andrus, though not putting things as blankly as I, seemed inclined to agree that it would, in view of my plans, be better to interne somewhere where I could get a more rounded training in, say, two years or so. He suggested, in order, Massachusetts General Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital in New York, and Cornell Hospital in New York. Despite what has been said above, I am still considering application at Hopkins, though not as seriously as I do at M.G.H. and Presbyterian.
In view of the likelihood of application at one of these two hospitals, we agreed that I would do well to substitute as intern in surgery in one of them during the coming summer, simply in order to become known to people there. This would be more satisfactory if I shifted my schedule so as to include fourth year surgery in the last part of my third year here, as I would then be better prepared to make a decent showing in the summer. The catch is this, that in so doing I would stand some chance of injuring my prospects if I should subsequently want to apply here. As an alternate plan, in the case of M.G.H., at least, a superior one, is to take a course in surgery during October and November either at Harvard or at P. and S.
The questions I want to ask you are these: (1) Am I foolish not to stay here at Hopkins for my internship, provided I could get it, and to injure my chances here for a more slender chance of appointment to M.G.H. or at Presbyterian or at Cornell? (2) Do you approve of the selection of hospitals that has been made to date, or could you suggest some which you would consider better for me or more fitted to my present ultimate plans? (3) Do you think my present plan to return to St. Paul to practice ill-considered? or rather would you be inclined to consider any other more advantageous for trying to start practice? In short, do you think it would be unwise to try to start practice in St. Paul in view of the economic status of our part of the country and in view of the proximity of the Mayo Clinic?
I have all the rest of this year and all of next still to go in medical school, and hope eventually to be doing general surgery. Applications for the hospitals I have mentioned must be in before December 1, 1934. There are also competitive examinations for all three in the first week of December. Appointments are made by Jan. 1, 1935.
I intend in the near future to have a talk with Dr. Lewis about the whole matter.
With best regards and apologies for the length of this letter and its character, which is something of the nature of a cross-examination,
Clarence Dennis
P.S. The real catch is that I want to get a well rounded training and to return to St. Paul and start practice, if possible, in 1937. CD.
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