Conversation with Dr. Harry Soroff at the Boston Harvard Club
June 15, 1974.
I clarified my reasons in considering a move to Stony Brook as follows: a wish to return to some teaching, some care of patients,
some investigative work in laboratories and on the wards, and finally a wish to do something more constructive
than provision of an oblique input into a national program with paper work of doubtful significance.
The matter income was discussed, and Dr. Soroff indicated that a salary of approximately $50,000 can be offered. The implications
of this are not yet clear, that is, whether this could be simply added to the 20 and a half years at Downstate with the ultimate
retirement income enhanced by the longer years of service and the higher level of state-salaried income. This latter point
raises questions that Mr. Milton Miller at Downstate could not answer for me in a conversation with him on June 17; his point
was that C.D. has been away from Downstate more than one year. There is apparently no precedent for this type of appointment
of someone who has retired and achieved an emeritus status. A letter will be sent to Mr. Levitt.
It was understood that the bulk of the clinical contacts will be at the Northport V.A. Hospital. Arrangements have been made
so that the resident staff at Huntington Hospital is appointed by the Department of Surgery of the Medical School. It is presumed
that some teaching of students may be done there also presently. Pilgrim State Hospital and Central lslip Hospital are near
Northport and Kings Park Hospital is about 4 minutes from the Medical School. These State Mental hospitals may provide an
opportunity for some teaching and for some fluid source of funds for the enhancement of the effectiveness of the Department
of Surgery. The Nassau Hospital is nearly as far away as the Long island Jewish Hospital, and C.D. expressed some doubt as
to the likelihood of effective participation of either on account of that distance.
We discussed programs within the Department of Surgery.
Metabolism - There is some likelihood that John Kinney may be recruited.
Endocrinology - No specific individuals were noted.
Biomedical Engineering - There seems to be a strong potential nucleus in the offing, including Soroff, Birtwell (with an appointment
in the Department), Sumner Levine, Dennis, and conceivably Harry LeVeen.
Gastro-Enterology - H.S.S. thinks hopefully in terms of Mike Eisenberg.
Oncology - Dennis suggests that Bernard Gardner be borne in mind. (His C.V., list of publications, and recent Tumor Registry
Report are being mailed directly to Dr. Soroff from D.M.C.)
Trauma - There was agreement that this should properly be handled in General Surgery and that the Orthopedic contribution
should be made by consultation. Gerald Shaftan was suggested by Dennis as a possible candidate.
Plastic - Several candidates were mentioned, none very strongly as yet.
Vascular - C.D. came away with no names for the moment.
Cardio-Thoracic - Drs. Heroy and Dos are already there and Drs. Soroff and Dennis might contribute.
Transplantation - Dr. Soroff is looking for a sum of some $5000 to use as a planning grant to develop this activity. This
has been offered to Tony Monaco, but Dr. S. is not sure that he will take it. Others who might be considered are Paul Russell,
Bunny Barnes, and John Bergan. The program is still a year away in any case. (Dr. Lyndon Lee had told C.D. that the V.A. Hospital
with the best program in
the metropolitan area would get the nod, although no V.A. hospital will be certified in the System as a Transplantation Center.
He had also said that he did not wish to toy with such items as open heart surgery or transplantation in advance of the establishment
of a strong service in general surgery.)
Education - Strong teachers are essential. C.D. unintentionally left out of the conversation the names of George Miller and
others who had made the art of teaching into a career. The first year will include exposure to trauma, with Dr. S.
directly involved. The second year will find the Department of Surgery heavily involved in systems teaching. The third year
will include 8 or 9 weeks of general surgical clerkship. The fourth year will offer deeper involvement in the specialties
on an elective basis.
Basic Sciences - Surgical involvement in the teaching of anatomy (Gabor lnke and Maynard Dewey) and physiology (Sidhart).
Dr. Dos could also participate.
There was discussion of Dr. Pitzele. H.S.S. was concerned that there were to date only 18 publications, but it became apparent
that the list was that used in obtaining his appt. to NHLI 2 years ago. A meeting among Drs. Pitzele, Soroff, and Dennis will
be set up in Washington shortly.
There was discussion of H.H. LeVeen and the role he might play. This will be cogitated with the information in hand.
There was discussion of Dr. Akutsu, and it was made clear that the intent of bringing his name into the discussions was simply
to note that he is likely to become available. He is not essential to consideration of performance of work on circulatory
support or an artificial heart.
We parted with duplicates of the C.V.'s of Pitzele, LeVeen, and Akutsu with HSS for cogitation. C.D. will get an opinion
from Albany about the mechanics of appointment and the relationship to ultimate retirement income and communicate
when it is available. When H.S.S. comes to Washington to see Lyndon Lee shortly, an effort will be made to have a conference
among him, Pitzele and C.D.