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The Michael E. DeBakey Papers

Letter from Alton Ochsner to Michael E. DeBakey pdf (3,262,600 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Alton Ochsner to Michael E. DeBakey
The handwritten notation on the last page is from Gertrude Forshag, who was the secretary of the Department of Surgery at Tulane.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (3,262,600 Bytes)
1936-02-11 (February 11, 1936)
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
February 11, 1936
Dear Mike,
I hope you will forgive me for not having answered your last letter sooner, but I have been so confounded busy with "barnstorming" and other distracting affairs that I just haven't gotten around to it.
I am indeed happy to know that everything is going so well with you at the clinic, but then it is not anything but what I expected.
I was terribly upset to hear about Ernest, which I didn't know until ten days or two weeks after it happened; otherwise, I would have gone out immediately. Your sister called me and told me that it had happened and that everything was getting along all right. Last week-end, a week ago, Vada and Mrs. Odom drove out to Lake Charles, and they said that Ernest was terribly discouraged because he wasn't getting along as well as he thought he should be. It seemed to me that the thing was being prolonged considerably because it was already six weeks. I, therefore, decided to go out to see him, so that Sunday, Mims, Little Mims, and I drove out. Poor Ernest is pretty much in the dumps, and I think he has a right to be because his condition has been prolonged. Unfortunately, he was being taken care of at home, where he couldn't get the proper care, and the burns were being treated by application of zinc stereate. I insisted that he go to the hospital where he could get soaks and then have grafting, because the infection was playing more havoc with the wound than anything else. I wanted to insist that he come down to New Orleans, but hardly knew how to do it, because Walter Moss has been taking care of the case and had done everything that he possibly could. Fortunately, today Walter phoned me and said that your father refused to let Ernest go to the hospital there, and that they were going to bring him down here. They are planning on bring[ing] him down tonight so that we will be able to take care of him. I am sure that it will be only a question of a couple of weeks now before he will be perfectly well, but unfortunately he has lost so much time now that I am afraid that he won't be able to go back to school this year. I will keep you posted on his progress.
As regards his second year, I believe that Kirschner is the man to be with, and I shall write to him immediately. I didn't know that he had gone to Heidelburg, but that doesn't make any difference because Heidelburg is as delightful as Tubingen and, in addition, has a great deal more tradition. I think that we can arrange everything for you and that you will be able to start by May.
We, of course, want you to come back in the December as soon as you get back, and after we make the arrangements with one of the German Clinics will try and decide definitely when you will be coming back in order that there will be a place for you. As I figure it out, if you go to Kirschner's Clinic in May and remain in Germany for only six or eight months it will bring you back here about the first of next year. In such an instance, we would just run along throughout the summer and fall and not appoint any man for next year until you get back. Louis Bristown is planning on going on the gynecological service in the summer and will stay there until the first of the year, after which time he wants to go back into practice. This gives us a vacancy, beginning this summer, but we would be able to get along until you return. If, however, you find that it will be possible to stay on until a longer period of time, and I think this is desirable from your standpoint if you can, then I can appoint someone for the year until you return. I should like to get your idea concerning this and how feel in regard to it.
I spent three days in San Antonio a week ago attending the International Post-Graduate Medical Assembly. I saw Amos and had a delightful visit with him. He is doing very well, is doing a great deal of industrial work, and is apparently very happy. As you probably know, they have another young daughter who is as cute as Laura.
The following week I went Cincinnati and addressed the Academy of Medicine there. It was extremely cold, and I can assure you that I was very happy to be home. I am going to stay home now until the spring meetings during which time I will be gone for approximately three weeks during the months of May.
I guess I haven't written to you since young Mims had his appendix out. He developed an acute attack one day, and big Mims operated upon him as an emergency three or four weeks ago. He got along perfectly splendidly and was at home a week after his operation. I overheard him talking with one of his playmates one day who remarked that he was surprised that Mims had come so early, because when his brother was operated upon he had remained in the hospital for two weeks. Mims' reply was, "Well, ordinarily, one stays in the hospital two weeks or longer after having his appendix out, but in my case it was different, because I had a good surgeon."
It is getting late, and I think I had better get on home and get some sleep, because tomorrow I will have to be in the operating room at seven-thirty.
Write to us when you have time, because we are all interested in hearing from you. I will keep you posted concerning Ernest's progress.
Everyone in the Department joins me in sending our best to you.
Alton Ochsner
[HANDWRITTEN NOTE: Ernest came down this morning and according to Dr. Ochsner and Gage he is getting along all right. I am going to write real soon. Don't forget I am expecting those letters every two weeks and will write you. That's a promise. G.F.]
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