Chapter 03: On Writing about the History of Medicine

Title

Chapter 03: On Writing about the History of Medicine

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Identifier

GuttermanJ_01_20041201_RD_C03

Publication Date

12-1-2004

Publisher

The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview's Subject Story - The Educator; Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents; Contributions

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

James S. Olson PhD

Well, that's a good question. But that gets us back down to another point for me. If we're going to kind of write, you know, for a scholarly audience on the history of medicine side, you have to address the whole issue of their eyes of ethics in medicine.

Jordan Gutterman, MD

Well see, at that part...

Lesley W. Brunet

I think it's important, and a change in perspective here in pediatrics.

Jordan Gutterman, MD

Yeah. See, I don't know that history very well. I was just too busy doing other things. So, I mean, you'll...

James S. Olson PhD

So for me, that's where I would bring Van Eys in, at that point.

Jordan Gutterman, MD

Yeah, no, right. There are going to be individuals that I may not have as -- because they played a critical role in some part of the story that may not even -- I mean, I don't remember. That's going to be your judgment, of course. So...

Lesley W. Brunet

What about yourself?

Jordan Gutterman, MD

What about? What role?

Lesley W. Brunet

Would you put yourself?

James S. Olson PhD

Yeah, I would appreciate, next visit or whatever, sort of a careful, you know, assessment of your own contribution.

Jordan Gutterman, MD

So I think what we should do, maybe, at the next visit. Is to start in about what happened. I mean, how did this all evolve into this biological stuff, because it was the first recombinant thing, and how is -- where the ideas came from and how they started, and the Laskers are going to play a role. Money's going to play a role. Oil people are going to play a role. There's going to be a lot of people with their arms up saying stop. Don't do it. And you work around it. And what that impact had, both specifically on certain diseases and patients. So we can talk about that. And I'll let you make those judgments. I'm not going to -- I can't, you know. I think my opinion on Freireich stands out, a class of his own here. For me, if it's a judgment on contributions -- that is, the Nobel Prize, I think Freireich and Frei share the Nobel Prize, in my own opinion, instead of bone marrow transplantation, I think it was '89 when Donald Thomas shared the Nobel Prize with Joe Murray, who did the first kidney transplants, which I think was deserved. I was a medical student when a very famous surgeon, David Hume, came to Richmond, Virginia. He worked with Joe Murray, but he killed -- he was killed on -- he flew planes and was killed in a plane crash at a young age. Maybe he would have shared it. But bone marrow transplantation does not have the impact that combination chemotherapy has. And many of the principles -- not of radiation, but of chemotherapy, were really based on Frei and Freireich. Because they were developed up at Cooperstown, New York, where the Hall of Fame is, by Thomas in the late '50s, early '60s. He certainly was well deserving.

However, Freireich and Frei were the ones who really pioneered the chemotherapy part. If Thomas, in terms of contributions to saving lives, bone marrow transplantations versus acute leukemia, and really Hodgkin's, and so forth, I think Frei and Freireich's contributions are far greater. So, I think -- no one ever talks about it, and they rarely give clinical prizes, the Nobel. I mean, they won the Lasker Award. And Thomas never did, interestingly. But would have, probably, would have done it, but eventually he won the Nobel Prize. So I put him on a pedestal above everybody else. The interferon and that whole thing, I'll let you judge all that. So, next time, we can start on how that started in terms of the soc -- but there's a lot of sociology, and culture, and all sorts of interesting things. I mean, we'll get into your John Wayne analogy, a little microcosm, and stuff. Including some international stuff. I mean, it's just a...

Lesley W. Brunet

(inaudible) or big on international component?

Jordan Gutterman, MD

Oh yeah. Well, see, I have a whole thing, as I said -- I've actually written kind of a book, a chronology of the whole thing, but I might have to -- I've had to put it aside because my work got too challenging. And so, I've just had to put it aside. Probably, eventually, we'll put it all together in one thing. But, I mean, with the [plants?]. But we'll talk about that.

Lesley W. Brunet

OK. Let me stop this.

END OF AUDIO FILE 2

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