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The Michael E. DeBakey Papers

Letter from Alton Ochsner to Michael E. DeBakey pdf (3,719,996 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Alton Ochsner to Michael E. DeBakey
Number of Image Pages:
3 (3,719,996 Bytes)
1935-10-17 (October 17, 1935)
Ochsner, Alton
[DeBakey, Michael E.]
Reproduced with permission of John Ochsner.
Exhibit Category:
From Tulane School of Medicine to the U.S. Army, 1928-1946
Box Number:
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1921-2007
Folder: Ochsner, Alton, 1935-1942, 1978-1981, 2003
October 17, 1935
Dear Mike:
I hope you will forgive me for not having answered your delightfully long letter of September 20. My only reason for not having answered it before is because I have been trying to decipher the words and as most of them weren't found in the dictionary which I had, it has been only relatively recently that I have been able to do it. I thought for a while that I might have to get someone to translate it for me, but finally found out that they were all English and none of them French. We all did enjoy your letter so much and also the one of October 6, which I received today.
I appreciate very much your criticism of the French clinics and realize that you are getting a great deal out of it. I think you are awfully wise, too, in using your discretion in conversation with the members of Leriche's clinic. I think frequently one can learn as much as my former chief, George Dock, used to tell us from seeing things done incorrectly, especially if he knows the way things should be done, as from seeing things done correctly, especially when one has the opportunity of observing the end results.
Let me congratulate you on having convinced the French so quickly of the value of your technic of blood transfusion. By that I don't mean to imply that the technic doesn't deserve it, because I realize probably as much as you how recalcitrant (give me credit for that word) they are in accepting anything new. On the other hand, it is hardly possible to see how they could turn it down because it is so obviously correct that nothing can be said against it.
Things here are rocking along very nicely. The new group seems to be working out very well, and everyone is happy. I have been awfully busy recently trying to get my material ready for the American College of Surgeons. I don't know whether I told you that I have been asked to talk before the Clinical Congress and am giving a resume of our work on peptic ulcer, which will include your investigations which I am referring to in detail. In addition to this, I am going to talk before the Hospital Section of the College on the use of hospital records from the standpoint of the surgeon and am also going to give a talk over the radio on "The Prevention of the Common Cold." I think they used very good discretion in choosing me for the last subject, because probably no one has no more colds and is less able to prevent them than I am. I recall giving this same talk before the radio several years ago with such a cold that could hardly speak. My last, and final, effort before the College of Surgeons will be given in San Diego at the Exposition, as the Sunday following the meeting in San Francisco has been designated as the American College of Surgeons' day at the San Diego Exposition. The College is putting on a series of talks for the laity and they asked me to give the talk on "How One Can Prevent a Cancer Death."
I am leaving several days early, because I am taking Akky to Tucson with me, where we are going to leave him for the winter. As you know, he has had considerable trouble with sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma for a number of years, and I fear if this continues over a long period of time he may develop bronchiectasis. I am anxious that he be spared as many of these infections as possible and am, therefore, taking him to Tucson for this winter. Will spend a couple of days there with him to before going to California. It so happens that in Tucson I have a doctor friend with home I roomed throughout my college and medical school days and who will look after Akky while there. He will be put in one of the boys' schools, and I believe will be well taken care of. From Tucson I am going on to Los Angeles, where I will spend two or three days with the Dumkes before going on to San Francisco. I don't know just what we will do, but probably will do some fishing. I only wish that Isabel were going with me, but she feels that she shouldn't leave the kiddies at this time of the year. I will then spend a week in San Francisco for the American College of Surgeons' meeting, and then back home by way of Tucson, where I will probably spend a day or so with Akky. Will be home only a little over a week before I have to go to St. Louis for the Southern Medical Association. Fortunately the program of the Southern Medical is all arranged and that will cause me little or no concern, but as I have two talks to give at this time, one before the general scientific session and one before a lay crowd, I will be kept plenty busy after I get home.
Dr. Gage is feeling splendid. I don't know whether you know he has cut out smoking entirely and this, together with the fact that he had all his teeth removed; I think is responsible for his feeling so well. As a matter of fact, he is so foxy around here that I have insisted upon his smoking again, because he is just about as frisky as a young colt in the spring. You have no idea what a difference it has made in the man and how happy it makes me feel to see him how own happy self again.
You will be interested in knowing some of the more recent rumors concerning Huey Long's death. The most recent one is that he was not shot by Weiss, but that Weiss came in to speak to Long and that following a cursing by Long that Weiss hit him. That would account for a cut which Huey had on the lip and which caused some bleeding from his lip. The rumor then goes that Weiss was knocked to the ground by one of the guards, following which Weiss shot, but instead of hitting Huey hit one of the guards in the hand. Following this the guards began shooting while Weiss was on the floor and one of the bullets rickashawed from the wall and struck Long. This rumor is based upon the fact that one of the surgeons who attended Huey stated that the entrance and exit wounds were several centimeters in diameter, which hardly could have been produced by a steel-jacketed .32 bullet which was fired from Weiss' gun. Further support to this rumor is given by the fact that Weiss was buried from the Catholic Church with full rites, and I am told that such is not possible for a murderer or suicide. It is interesting at least.
The political situation in Louisiana is somewhat quieter than usual, although many people believe that the present administration will control the next election. As you probably know, Richard Leche is running for governor, but the party is being dominated considerably by Maestri. On the anti-administration ticket, which is an extremely strong one by the way, Representative Dear is running for governor. There are, on the other hand, many believe that the anti-administration ticket will be successful. Another interesting side-light is that ever since this has happened Dr. Vidrine has been doing practically all the emergencies at Charity Hospital. Just what the significance of this is no one can say. Dame Rumor hath it, however, that he is considering going to Ville Platte either voluntarily or involuntarily some time in the near future and that he is preparing himself for that move.
I have just gotten the proof today on our article on "The Diagnosis and Treatment of Amebic Hepatic Abscess", which was presented before the Orleans Parish. Will go over it this afternoon and return it as soon as I have. It looks all right from what I have seen of it, and I believe will do a great deal of good locally. If there are any of these reprints that you want while there, don't hesitate to say so, because we will be very glad to send them to you.
Keep us posted concerning your activities, as we are all interested in your letters and appreciate very much your taking the time and effort to write us the minute details you do. We may have to get another dictionary for the Department, but nevertheless we are glad to do it, because the education is worth it.
The Department joins me in sending our best regards,
Yours sincerely,
Alton Ochsner, M.D.
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