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The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to his father pdf (173,716 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to his father
Number of Image Pages:
2 (173,716 Bytes)
1946-03-13 (March 13, 1946)
Swan, Henry
[Swan, Henry Sr.]
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
The Cold Heart: Hypothermia and Cardiac Surgery, 1949-1962
Box Number: 17
Folder Number: 4
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Personal and Biographical, 1936-1995
Folder: [Scrapbook, 1946-1948 April]
March 13, 1946
Dear Pop:
The office is finally finished, and today we are actually moving in. Needless to say, things are in utter confusion with telephone men, plumbers, painters, and movers milling around trying to get the job completed. The house looks very well indeed, Woodman has put in the juniper shrubs and the hedge. Fred has the new roof on and painted, so we are finally ready to start operations.
I got my cards out on Monday, and I have had two or three nice notes from various doctors wishing me success. Meanwhile, out at the hospital the ground work for my experimental study is gradually shaping up. One minor blow -- when Dr. Darley forwarded our request to the Public Health Service for money, he forgot to enclose the three page description of the details of the experiment. When the committee met about a week ago, they were unable to act upon it, and won' t be able to do so until the 10th of May. Meanwhile however, the medical school has been drawing on some available research funds, and has been exceedingly cooperative and helpful in attempting to get things started. I have already succeeded in working out the anatomical details of my proposed procedure, and it seems completely feasible from a strictly technical point of view. I hope within two weeks, when our major instruments arrive, to be able to proceed with the undertaking. Meanwhile, my appointment to the staff in the capacity of assistant to surgery at the medical school has come true.
An extremely difficult problem has presented itself and I wish you were here so that I could discuss it with you. This doesn't need an immediate solution, but it is a problem needing some thought. Briefly, the medical school is planning to start a few full time teaching jobs in accordance with a program of expansion which they are undertaking there. Dr. Darley broached me yesterday on the subject of whether I would be interested in taking a full time teaching job at the level of associate professor to be in charge of the organization and teaching in the surgical department of the medical school. I would have fourteen or fifteen beds on surgical service, which I would run as a personal service, but a tremendous amount of the work would, of course, be administrative and organizational. I would have unlimited experimental facilities. The job would not pay a tremendous amount of money, but unless I flunked out pretty badly, it would lead straight to the professor of surgery at the medical school. However, the plan means abandoning any attempt at private practice, abandoning my ideas as regard to the development of pediatric surgery, abandonment of my attempt in the future to influence the course of direction of the Children's Hospital here in town. Even assuming that I should answer "yes" there is no certainty, of course, that the Board of Begets would appoint me to this position, but I suppose the chances would be reasonably fair as both Dr. Packard and Dr. Darley .would be backing me. Dr. Packard, under this program, will stay on as professor of surgery on a part time basis at the medical school. This proposal was certainly a considerable honor to me, but the various drawbacks already mentioned plus the fact that it would involve me in a considerable political turmoil within the medical profession, and that it will tie me down to a clock-punching desk type of job to a large extent militates in my mind strongly against it in spite of the fact that it would eventually lead ne where I would like to be -- in academic experimental medicine. I would be interested to hear any reactions you may have as regards this question.
As regards the house in the country, the foundations have already been laid; the plans in detail have come through successfully and in most respects are satisfactory, although there will probably be some changes particularly as regards the big room on the main upper story. Fred is not being held up by these proposed changes, and work is in progress there. Everything seems to be going along smoothly at the farm. Our house in town enjoys good health and the usual amount of confusion.
I think Fletch wrote you about our fine trip to Aspen in which we had a very excellent and healthy sunburnt time. The drive of two hundred and ten miles from Denver makes this a pretty tough affair to go for the weekend. If, however, they would open up the Tunnel and cut about eighty miles off that, it would not be nearly so bad. Taddy's boots arrived in time for her to go skiing with them last weekend, but I have been so busy since I got home, that I have not asked her how they worked out.
Tom Dines called last night and spoke with Fletch, saying that he talked with you and that you apparently were having a good time and getting in a lot of golf. All of this sounds as if you were taking the proper approach to getting "the old battery charged up". You might be so bold as to drop us a line sometime and tell us whether your scores are in the low seventies or the high seventies. Meanwhile, as no doubt you have discovered, a good long laugh is worth about ten hours sleep.
Lots of love,
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