CLASS NOTES ’50s When Roland Nord started practic- ing medicine in New Castle, Pa., he would get a call in the middle of the night if one of his patients ended up in the emergency room. It was his job, as a family physician, to go to the ER and care for his patients. That changed long ago with the advent of the ER physician. But Nord (MD ’55) is still practicing in New Castle, more than 50 years after graduating from medi- cal school. A grateful patient of 38 years noted the milestone in 2005 and alerted the local newspaper, which promptly sent a reporter to Nord’s office. In a letter commemorating Nord’s years of service, Arthur S. Levine, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, noted that he appreciated Nord’s words to a reporter for the New Castle News: “In order to practice medicine well, you not only need to be a scientist, but you need to be a human.”
’80s When Leslie Kahl (Internal Medicine Resident ’81, Rheumatology Fellow ’83) returned home after rounds during her residency, she often stayed up late into the night reading about rheumatic diseases. She found more questions than answers, making the specialty intriguing. As a rheumatologist today, she says she tries to listen closely to what patients say about their painful, sometimes debilitating diseases. She served as an assistant professor of medicine at Pitt in the 1980s. Now, as a professor of medicine and asso- ciate dean for student affairs for the medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, she finds her listen- ing skills come in handy when she meets with students.
doorstep for last-minute physicals or cold remedies. He laughs about conducting at least seven basketball physicals for young athletes in his living room. Through his service work in the community—cleaning parks and supporting a drug awareness program—he met an even more recognizable and much-loved denizen of Greenfield: local pol Bob O’Connor, who would become Pittsburgh’s mayor and his patient. O’Connor died of cancer last year, less than one year into his first term as mayor. Bernacki says his experience in Pitt’s family prac- tice residency prepared him to deal with the psychologi- cal states that patients and their families experience during illness and at the end of life.
While reading a magazine in 1999, critical care spe- cialist Martin Doerfler (MD ’82) learned of a few Johns Hopkins professors who were ICU innovators. The fol- lowing year he joined their fledgling company, VISICU, and is now a vice president for clinical operations there. The company’s eICU solution program combines infor- mation technology and staff training to reduce mortality and mistakes in the ICU.
Since completing his residency at UPMC Shadyside, Bernard Bernacki (Family Practice Resident ’84) has treated patients in the Greenfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which is his home. Although he enjoys the warm response his work receives, it is occasionally too familiar. Patients and neighbors might show up on his
’90s When the radio crackled and the operator said that there was a car over the moun- tainside, David Sherwood (MD ’90), a family practice physician in rural Colorado, knew that the driver prob- ably needed treatment as soon as possible. Sherwood arrived first at the scene of the accident. He saw an overturned car about 500 feet down the mountain- side, so he grabbed his jump kit and roped down. After reaching the car and finding it unoccupied, he began to search the nearby brush, eventually find- ing a woman, splayed on a rock, unresponsive. She had been lying there 12 hours. Sherwood stabilized her before the mountain rescue team arrived with a helicopter to transport her to the nearest trauma center, about 110 miles away. (She later recovered.) Sherwood is one of three doctors for a clinic—which he owns—that treats about 3,000 people in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Serious car accidents like this occur about every other month, says Sherwood, medical director of Ouray County Search and Rescue. His clinic is about 30 miles from the nearest hospital. If a patient can’t pay, Sherwood has been known to
PUMP UP THE GAMOW BAG
artin Springer (MD ’82) wants all his classmates to know: If you are ever in China, you really ought to look him up. Rather than settling down and starting a family, Springer long ago opted for packing his bags and starting a family. M
At the University of Chicago, he completed the emergency medicine residency he began at Pitt. He later worked at the Chicago Medical School’s teaching hospital on the boundary of competing gangs. “We saw a lot of trauma,” he writes of the six years he was in Chicago, “some of it inflicted in the ER waiting room.”
During those years, Springer took two four-month breaks to work in Nepal, caring for locals and tourists. At the clinic near Mount Everest, he and his colleagues intro- duced the Gamow Bag, a portable, hyperbaric chamber used to treat altitude sickness. Filled with air by a pump used to inflate a raft, it looks like an inflated duffle bag big enough to hold a person, and it’s now standard issue on high-altitude expeditions.
A few years later, Springer relocated to Kathmandu with his wife and son and joined the staff of the CIWEC Clinic Travel Medicine Center, which cares for tourists, expatri- ates, and members of the diplomatic community. There he saw infectious diseases from