In 1937, after nearly a year's residency training in anesthesiology, Apgar was invited back to Columbia-Presbyterian (where
she had done her surgery internship) to set up and head a new division of anesthesia there. In this letter, she outlined her
plan for the division to Whipple, director of the department of surgery.
NOTE: Handwritten text at top of first page illegible in original.
Number of Image Pages:
5 (187,666 Bytes)
1937-11-29 (November 29, 1937)
Whipple, Allen O.
Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Presbyterian Hospital
Original Repository: Mount Holyoke College. Archives and Special Collections. Virginia Apgar Papers [MS 0504]
I am submitting a tentative outline for the organization and functions of a Division of Anesthesia under the Department of
Surgery at the Presbyterian Hospital, as suggested by you earlier this month.
This letter is also to confirm our conversation of November tenth.
It has been demonstrated to me that nothing can be lost and a great deal gained in starting such a Division, by keeping a
duplicate written record of various pertinent conversations, criticisms and their remedies, and suggestions received. For
a time at least I shall give the method a trial.
The following subjects were discussed and tentative conclusions drawn that:
1. Some reference to Anesthesia would be made under my name in the next medical school Catalogue, preferably Director of Anesthesia,
2. At present it seems wiser to organize a Division of Anesthesia under the Department of Surgery rather than a Department
3. Clinical anesthesia will be the first emphasis of the new Division. It is possible that anesthetists already trained may
be called upon temporarily to assist in clinical anesthesia before the residencies are definitely established,
4. The teaching program for undergraduate students will begin on September 1, 1938, if possible, with lectures to third year
students and practical work for fourth year students. The most important aim in teaching will be to equip the student to
give the simplest type of anesthesia safely: open drop ether anesthesia, and to show the important relationship of anesthesia
to other branches of medicine.
5. Residencies will be established as the need for medical anesthesia is seen by the surgeons.
6. Research work will be started after the teaching program is under way. The present trend of Research in the Department
of Surgery was discussed so that problems in Anesthesia may be correlated with it.
7. The income for the Division will be roughly ten percent of the surgeon's fee, for all anesthesia given by Medical Anesthetists.
8. From this income, all expenditures for the department will be drawn: salaries, equipment, etc.
9. The, average salary for a similar position elsewhere ranges from $5000.00 to $10,000.00. It did not appear unreasonable
for me to expect the former figure mentioned as a beginning salary.
10. Every effort will be made to keep Miss Penland's and Miss Justus's positions open as long as they wish to fill
11. It is imperative to replace Dr. Buchanan and Dr. Wood with more active Consultants in Anesthesia.
12. A vacation from January l, 1938 to January 15, 1938 is in order.
You may be assured that it will be my kindly appreciation if you will advise me of any misinterpretation that I may have expressed
in the contents of this letter.