Showing posts with label radiology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label radiology. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 27 - early radiology?

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1622


July 27, 1896


Queen & Co., Inc.,

1010 Chestnut St.,

Philadelphia, Pa.




Please forward to the Army Medical Museum at your earliest convenience, with bill: 1 Fluorescent screen, 11” x 14”, (tungstate of calcium) for use in contact with plate for lessening time of exposure – the screen to be made as fine as possible to prevent granulation.


Very respectfully,

D.L. Huntington

Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,

In charge of Museum and Library Division.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Letter of the Day: March 6 (2 of 2)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1315

Washington, March 6, 1896

My dear Doctor:-

I hardly think it worth while to purchase a new Ruhmkoff coil for the purpose of making experiments with the Roentgen rays. Very active experimental work is going on in different parts of the country and it is not probably that any experiments that you would find time to make would add anything of importance to our knowledge of these rays and their practical application in medicine. I judge that neither yourself nor anyone else at the Museum competent to make such experiments has the time for original research work, and it is hardly worth while to experiment simply for the purpose of verifying that is done by others. Later, when the exact practical value of photography by these rays has been determined, we may want the necessary apparatus in order to assist in the diagnosis of cases occurring in the District, to which the new method may be applicable.

Have you seen the last number of the American Journal of the Medical Sciences containing a number of photographs and an account of experiments which have been made in Philadelphia?

Very truly yours,

Geo. M. Sternbertg

Lieut. Col. D. L. Huntington,
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army
Washington, D.C.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Washington Humane Society

This article details a law proposed in 1896 to regulate vivisection in D.C. started by the Washington Humane Society. I haven't been able to see if the law passed, but it looks like not.
I sent this and few other articles to a friend at the Washington Humane Society and they will be used as a reference in making an official history of the organization.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 20

Apparently the Museum was taking x-rays a year after Roentgen discovered how to capture them.

Ballston, VA.
February 20, 1933.

Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.


About November 6, 1896, through a request of the Secretary of War, Dr. Gray made an ex-ray (sic) exposiure (sic) and several thereafter of my cranium, at which time there showed a foreign opaque, lodged in the brane (sic). It is desired to ascertain if there is a record of the circumstances and if possible to get a copy of the report.

This information is desired for use at the Capitol, by Dr. Copeland and Hon. Howard W. Smith of Congrss. The X-ray was again taken last week and they want to check on it.

Wm C Hammond

The letter sent back reads:

February 25, 1933

MEMORANDUM for Major Noyes, S.G.O.:

1. Enclosed herewith is post card from Wm. C. Hammond (Former 1st Cl. Apprentice, U.S. Navy, 701 E. Capitol St.) together with Photostat copies of the correspondence in re this case in 1896.
2. Inquiry by phone to the Record Dept., Bureau of Med. & Surg., U.S.N. and thru them to the U.S. Naval Hospital has fialed to add any further information.
3. We can find no record of the original films at the Museum.

V.H. Cornell,
Major, Medical Corps, U.S.A.

We no longer have any original correspondence, but there are 2 notes about the case. The longer one, dated November 12, 1896, reads:

Respectfully returned with 2 prints. The first negative (Print No 1) shows 2 inches backward in a straight line from orbital ridge and 5/8 inches upward from this point, on wounded side, a small triangular piece of metal, approximately 3/8 x 2/8 inches in its greatest diameters. This is believed to lie near the surface. The second negative (Print No 2) shows this piece of metal scarcely at all, but it shows distinctly a much larger piece in the posterior part of the head. Before making the last exposure two pieces of wire were tied together forming a cross; this cross was tied to the head of the wounded side and its position marked on the skin with nitrate of silver. The large piece of metal lies 6 34/ inches in a direct line backward from the crossed wire; its depth within the brain substance can only be determined by a photograph taken in the opposite direction.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

AFIP's Armed Forces Medical Examiner featured in NY Times

Here's a really good article about some of our colleagues (at least for 2 more years until BRAC goes through) - "Autopsies of War Dead Reveal Ways to Save Others," By DENISE GRADY, New York Times May 26, 2009. I hadn't heard about the collapsed lung problem and solution, but isn't that great how Dr. Harcke spotted that?

And this bit is lovely - "“He was one of the most compassionate people throughout this whole process that I dealt with from the Department of Defense,” Mrs. Sweet said of Captain Mallak." I don't really know Craig Mallak all that well as OAFME's off in Rockville, MD but it's nice to read something that positive about someone.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Day in the Life...

I meant to write these more often, but somehow the life keeps staying busy.

Here's one from a few weeks ago. We're part of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (see the sidebar history) and their Radiology Department had a lead on some personal papers they were interested in. The American College of Radiology has stored their records with the History Factory in Chantilly, VA, and in their collection they had personal papers of Dr. William Thompson. Thompson was instrumental in setting up the large radiology program at AFIP. The ACR was willing to hand over this series of records to AFIP since it didn't really relate to their core holdings. I tend to wear a dual hat as AFIP's archivist as well as the Museum's so I was on the job.

Poaching from other archives never thrills me, although at times it makes sense. Years ago, we returned photographs of unidentified corpses that we had received from the NY Medical Examiner to the NY Municipal Archives to reunite them with the paper records of the cases. I was fine with that, but there have been plenty of times when people come in to do research and say "wouldn't this be better if it was in..."

Anyway, two people from the radiology dept., and 3 museum staffers took a van from Walter Reed while I drove myself from home. I beat them by about an hour so I hung around with the archivist there. He showed me the collection - it was pretty straightforward personal papers including diaries, some awards and some photographs, both personal and professional. I've seen dozens like it, and at 3 linear feet, it wasn't large. So we talked shop and then when everyone else arrived, they looked at the records. The radiologists were particularly interested as one doesn't see fifty-year old diaries every day, I suppose. We took a quick look in the stacks at the rest of the ACR collection - most archives look alike especially in the 'bulk' storage areas - and I've got to say that they have a nice set of advertising trade literature if you're doing anything on radiology's history. We also looked at the 3-D artifacts because there was some confusion in our party if we were supposed to be checking on them as well.

After signing the paperwork transferring it to us, we headed back to AFIP. Lauren Clark, who's volunteering as an intern this summer, has processed the collection and written a finding aid to it, which should make it onto our regular website soon. There's nothing deeply interesting or dramatic in Thompson's papers, but they help round out the history of radiology at AFIP.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Change in mammogram technology causes change in diagnosis

Read this article to see how a change in technology is driving changes in diagnosis -

In Shift to Digital, More Repeat Mammograms
New York Times April 10, 2008
As doctors learn to interpret digital mammograms, they are more likely to request second tests.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

And speaking of telemedicine...'s Washington Times had a piece on teleradiology - "Outsourcing images," by Shelley Widhalm (March 20, 2008) that talks about some of the issues, ethical and practical, involved in the practice. It's a bit of a puff piece for an area business, but gets across the points one should think about.

My earlier post on telemedicine is here.