5/29/14: ‘Mad Scientists & Medical Advances’

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush

ATTENDING (10): April Dowd, Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Jim Butterworth, Charlie Foote, Dick Drumm, Rommel Tolentino, Jim Leyhane.

Guests (2): Mary Griswold, Ray Hannan.

Program: ‘Mad Scientists & Medical Advances’

Club member Dr. Rommel Tolentino regaled us with the work of four scientists whose pioneering work in various fields of medicine — two of whom ended up winning Nobel Prizes — went against the prevailing wisdom of their times.


Barry Marshall — The Australian, who still is in practice, won the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine. He isolated the bacterium H. pylori, which he found ti be the cause of peptic ulcers. This was in direct contradiction to the accepted thinking of the time that acids and spices caused the ulcers. Marshall used himself as a guinea pig to prove his hypothesis.


Werner Forssmann — He was a German doctor who won the 1956  Nobel in medicine for successfully completing the first cardiac catheterizarion. A nurse had volunteered to be the first human subject for the procedure, but when he had her under anesthesia he pulled the “switcheroo” and used himself as the subject. She revived in time to assist him with the procedure.


Stubbins Ffirth — He lived from 1784 to 18290, and was a pioneer in researching the cause of yellow fever, which in that era was endemic in the area of Pennsylvania where he practiced. He thought the disease was passed along by contact, so he smeared himself with all sorts of oozings from patients in hopes of contracting the disease. As it turned out, he was wrong. All he actually proved was that at a certain advanced stage, the disease was not transmitted. Other researchers ascertained that it was contagious.


August Bier — Bier, who lived until 1941, was a German doctor who was the first to perform spinal anesthesia and intravenous regional anesthesia. He utilized cocaine injections into the spine which worked to deaden the pain. His methods for ascertaining the pain level in his patients were primitive at best, including slapping, kicking and striking with a hammer.


MEMBERSHIP — Ray Hannan has submitted paperwork to transfer from the Clifton Springs, NY, club to SRC. The process should be complete in time for him to be among new members scheduled to be inducted at the June 26 Presidential Changeover dinner meeting at the Browns’ residence. (For your records, Ray’s e-mail address is Ray1110b@yahoo.com)

Dr. Melissa Ehlers of the Gift of Life board has agreed to attend our June 12 meeting, and will attempt to bring at least one other GOL official. She will accept our $10,000 special donation at that time. We have received a number of accolades from throughout District 7190 for our fundraising:

Patricia Herman, Secretary Rotary Gift of Life 7190: “Thank you for the generous $10,000 donation. Your commitment to sponsor a child for surgery is truly wonderful. We will discuss options for your child and recognition for your club at our meeting June 4. We are excited about your gift. Your generosity and love is greatly appreciated by the committee members. ”

Bill Nathan, past district governor: “Rotarians are all special people and your continued support of the the Gift of Life is the best of Rotary!  Thank you all so much for delivering on the special promise you made.”

Barbara Wyllie, editor, district Toolbox newsletter: “This news is excellence personified. Thank you for your diligence! Way to go Southern Rensselaer Rotary!”

Susan Austin, 7190 District Governor: “Thank you all for the excellent job.  I could not be prouder of all of you. Way to go Southern Rensselaer Rotary club.  Keep up the GREAT WORK.”

SUMMER CAMPING SCHOLARSHIP — We received a letter of gratitude from the YMCA for helping underwrite the $300 cost of sending a youngster to the Summer Y Camp.

ROTARY ESSAY SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST — Sydney Bertrand of Troy High School and Collin Wilson of Tamarac High School were winners of a pair of $500 scholarships in our first-ever SRC Rotary Essay Scholarship competition. They will receive certificates and checks at a dinner meeting to which they and their parents will be invited as our guests. Judges for the competition were Bill Dowd, Terry Brewer, Jim Butterworth and April Dowd. April will be sending invitations to both students to attend our June 19 dinner meeting with their parents to accept their awards.

NEXT MEETING: Club Assembly at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 5, at which we will review the best and not-so-best of our programs and achievements in the 2013-14 Rotary Year.


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