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In 1866-67, Dr. Kempster was medical assistant in the State Asylum for the Feeble-Minded at Syracuse. In the latter year, he received an appointment as assistant physician at the State Hospital for Insane at Utica, New York, where he remained till 1873. The institution at Utica, one of the first and most famous state asylums, then under the direction of Dr. John P. Gray, possessed the first laboratory for the study of brain pathology established in any institution in this country . Dr. Kempster gave much study to the microscopic and macroscopic histo-pathology of the brain. He was also assigned duty as assistant editor of the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INSANITY which was then published at the Utica State Hospital. Dr. Kempster, in the course of his laboratory work, developed a system for photographing and for projection of slides upon a screen and in collaboration with Dr. Gray was the first in this country to show in this manner gross and microscopic appearances of the brain.
In 1873, Dr. Kempster received the appointment of medical superintendent of the Northern State Hospital for the Insane, at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he served for 14 years and continued his study and research in minute anatomy of the brain, and conducted experimentation on animals. He also studied the effects of chloral, hyoscyamus and other drugs. In the course of his duty as assistant physician and superintendent, he directed the care of over 11,000 insane persons. He exhibited his microscopic preparations on the screen in 1875 before the Chicago Pathological Society, and at the International Congress, in 1876, showed photomicrographs which attracted much attention. Dr. Kempster administered the new State Hospital at Oshkosh with much success and in a progressive manner, also continuing laboratory research which was in that day a rarity. He records the fact that in 12 years no suicide or violent death occurred in the institution under his care.
In 1891, Dr. Kempster was appointed a member of a congressional commission to investigate conditions of emigration. He visited Europe under instructions to report the circumstances attending emigration to the United States, especially in Russia. The commission encountered opposition in Russia and were allowed but a limited opportunity to see what control and regulation the government exercised. The existence of famine was
another subject of inquiry. A report on the conditions found was published in due time, but was prohibited from circulation in Russia under the despotic rule of the Czar.
In 1892, Dr. Kempster, although offered appointment in charge of Kings County Hospital, New York, declined and was again a member of a congressional expedition to Europe, established for the purpose of investigating the cause of epidemics. He visited Turkey, Palestine and Persia, discovering that no quarantine regulations were observed. As a result to a considerable extent of this report, investigations were made in European ports of embarkation, suspected passengers were detained in Europe with a view of preventing epidemics in the United States. A clean bill of health was required and a marine hospital service placed in control.
In 1894, the mayor of Milwaukee appointed Dr. Kempster as health commissioner. In performing the duties of this office, establishing “civil service” rules and regulating small-pox, he incurred the enmity of one of the city aldermen who opposed the enforcement of quarantine rules in his ward. Resistance was offered by some of the population to the enforcement of quarantine regulations and was encouraged by the above-mentioned alderman. The agents of the health department were mobbed and driven away. A “packed " committee of aldermen investigated the doings of the health commission and after an unfair trial a report was made recommending removal of the commissioner from office. He refused voluntarily to resign and was forcibly ejected from office and another health commissioner put in his place. He brought suit to maintain his rights and was found by the court to have been unjustly and illegally removed. The case was carried to the supreme court of the state, which affirmed the decision of the lower court, and Dr. Kempster was again installed in charge of the health office. He was also awarded full compensation for the whole time during which he had been dispossessed. During Dr. Kempster's service in the city health office, extensive bacteriological studies were made, bakeries and candy factories inspected, water analyzed, smoke nuisance dealt with and the death rate of the city was lowered.
Dr. Kempster was appointed professor of mental diseases in Wisconsin Medical College. He engaged also in literary work, publishing a study on the alleged insanity of Hamlet; and upon mental epidemics of the Middle Ages. He was frequently in demand because of his military services for Memorial Day addresses. He prepared a history of the cavalry in the Civil War. He was a member of the Loyal Legion, made commander in 1871; also president of the Medical Greek Letter Society, " Alpha Mu Pi Omega.”
Dr. Kempster often served as expert witness in cases where insanity was the issue—both civil and criminal cases. With his former chief, Dr. John P. Gray, he was a leading witness for the prosecution in the historical case of Guiteau, slayer of President Garfield, in which Dr. E. C. Spitzka, Dr. W. W. Godding, of the Government Hospital for the Insane, and Dr. J. G. Kiernan took the other side.
During the last years of his life, Dr. Kempster was a severe sufferer from arthritis, but he held to his professional and literary labors even up to the time shortly before his death, which occurred at Milwaukee, August 21, 1918, in his 77th year.
Dr. Kempster's life was one of earnest endeavor after eminence in his profession and in the various positions which he held, and he attained more than ordinary distinction: as a brave soldier and capable medical officer in the Civil War, an able assistant at Utica and medical superintendent of the Northern Wisconsin State Hospital, in both of which latter positions he carried on valuable research work besides discharging the usual executive functions in an able manner. In the foreign congressional missions for which he was chosen, as health commissioner for Milwaukee, as a writer and speaker of ability, and a widely known exponent of the medical jurisprudence of insanity, he enjoyed a high degree of reputation and success. His memory will be cherished by a large circle of friends.
R. D. DR. GEORGE W. GORRILL. Dr. George W. Gorrill, superintendent of the Buffalo State Hospital, died of pneumonia following influenza on October 27, 1918.
Dr. Gorrill was born at Mitchell, Perth County, Ontario, Canada, March 13, 1877, and received his preliminary education in his native country, being graduated from the Harriston High School in June, 1895, and from the Model Training School at Mount Forest, Ontario, in December of that year. The following year he taught in one of the public schools of Ontario.
In December, 1896, Dr. Gorrill came to the United States and took up his residence at Tonawanda, New York.
His medical education was obtained at the Medical Department of the University of Buffalo, from which institution he was graduated in May, 1900. After his graduation he served for one and one-half years as interne at the Hospital of the Sisters of Charity of Buffalo, and then entered the Buffalo State Hospital in a similar capacity.
Dr. Gorrill was a keen observer who possessed unusual ability to retain and to reproduce mental impressions. Whatever he read or heard he stored away in his mind and such information was always easily accessible to him. It is, therefore, not surprising that he made rapid advancement in the state service. After passing through the various grades in the hospital and after having obtained high rank in the civil service competitive examinations he was appointed on March 7, 1911, to the position of first assistant physician at the Buffalo State Hospital, succeeding Dr. Henry P. Frost. This position he held until July 29, 1918, when, following the resignation of Dr. Arthur W. Hurd, he was appointed superintendent of the Buffalo State Hospital. But as a superintendent Dr. Gorrill had little opportunity to show his capacity, for scarcely had two months passed following his appointment when he was stricken with the malady, which later proved to be fatal.
Knowing, therefore, his aims and ideals, one can but conjecture what he might have accomplished had he lived. As a member of the staff, probably no one ever attained, among patients and employees, a degree of popularity greater than that of Dr. Gorrill.
Dr. Gorrill identified himself with various national and local medical societies. He was a member of the American Medical Association, of the State an, the County Medical Society, and of the Buffalo Academy of Medicine. He was also an associate member of the American Medico-Psychological Association.
On July 7, 1904, Dr. Gorrill married Miss Josephine Dick, who survives him.
W. W. W.
GEORGE BANEY WOLFF, A. B., M. D. Dr. George Baney Wolff, assistant physician at the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, was shot and almost instantly killed by Dr. Noboru Ishida, a Japanese physician and psychiatrist, who was temporarily doing some medical work at the hospital, on the morning of Saturday, December 21, 1918.
Dr. Wolff was the son of Rev. D. U. Wolff, of Myerstown, Penna. He was born in New Oxford, Penna., on December 10, 1885. He was educated at public and private schools in his preparatory course for college and received the degree of A. B. from Ursinus College, Penna., in 1908, and of M. D. from the medical school of The Johns Hopkins University in 1912.
He came to the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital as clinical assistant in June, 1912, but was shortly thereafter promoted to the position of assistant physician.
Dr. Wolff was a man of most quiet and unassuming manners, a gentleman by instinct and in action, of pure life and thought, a Christian by training and deliberate choice.
He was a good student, a clear-visioned observer. Approaching each problem with no preconceived ideas, he gave his patients the benefit of careful and conscientious study before announcing his opinion or proceeding upon any course of action.
He was never controversial, but having formed an opinion after deliberate study, it was difficult to move him. His associates soon learned to respect and value his opinions and to find his conclusions commonly correct.
He was most assiduous in his attentions to the sick and fought disease and death with unrelenting vigor.
He very soon became by choice the physician to the various employees of the hospital, and in the recent epidemic of influenza, in addition to increased duty in the hospital wards made necessary by illness among other members of the staff, worked most energetically among the sick employees about the farm and elsewhere. Notwithstanding the fact that several of the patients were seriously ill, some of them with pneumonia, none died.
Among the patients in the hospital he was a general favorite, and numerous letters have been received from former patients, deploring his untimely end and referring to him in terms of warmest affection.