Garry Gordon, MD's Early Medical Career
Upon completion of the internship, I went back to Los Angeles and took over the twenty four hour emergency practice, which my brother had been running and within six months had to hire
three additional physicians to handle the rapidly expanding twenty four hour emergency practice. After approximately one year in Los Angeles, I decided I could not handle the pollution and traffic
congestion and chose to become the only doctor in a small mountain town of Forest Hill California. I took over the existing practice of Dr. Stanley Jolivette as he was closing the practice and moving
to the city to facilitate the education of his growing family.
I purchased from him the clinic, X-ray machine and pharmacy. The population of the town was twelve hundred, but within a few months, the American River Construction Project was begun with an
additional twelve hundred employees plus their families moving to the area in trailers and construction parks. I became the industrial physician for the entire project. That supplied me with a helicopter
to handle the remote areas where the dams were being built. In those days was a hundred and ten million dollar dam project and it was often believed that they would loose one life per five million dollars
and there were a tremendous number of accidents each day.
By 1964, I had
had so little sleep and worked so many hours that I was a complete health wreck myself. I seldom got an entire nights sleep without being up to deal with some emergency. In early 1964, I collapsed with
total disabling chest pain and was so weak I was unable to stand, so I had to continue the practice sitting in a chair until I was able to close the practice and go into my residency training in Mt. Zion
Hospital, San Francisco, where I decided that due to my serious health problems, I needed a lower pressure work schedule which permitted me to go home at five o'clock and recuperated every day.
After one year in radiology in San Francisco, I became conversive with the fact that the radiologist in a major teaching hospital is the major consultant to every medical specialist in the
hospital. I was expected to be able to competently discuss cases with neural surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, vascular surgeons, pediatricians, internist, etc. and it was a tremendous year of training,
however at the end of that year the hospital ignored my condition that I had made clear when I entered the training program that I would not do radiation therapy and asked me to become the resident in
charge of the new multi-million dollar cancer treatment center that they had just built. I declined and left radiology forever at that point. I had told them that I did not believe in that as a therapy for
cancer and I was only there for the three-year residency training in diagnostic radiology.
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