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Memory Lane

  Bill Fulhorst, MD
 

Bill Fulhorst, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Bill Fulhorst

  Ralph Armstrong, MD
 

Ralph Armstrong, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Ralph Armstrong

  Leonard Kutnik, MD
 

Leonard Kutnik, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Leonard Kutnik

  Stephen Steinfeldt, MD
 

Stephen Steinfeldt, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Stephen Steinfeldt

  Will Chamberlain, MD
 

Will Chamberlain, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Will Chamberlain

  John Buster, MD
 

John Buster, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. John Buster

  Harold Coons, MD
 

Harold Coons, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Harold Coons

  Roger Delwiche, MD
 

Roger Delwiche, MD
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Roger Delwiche

In June 2016, members of the UCLA School of Medicine Class of 1966 met to celebrate their 50th reunion. One of the activities was at the home of Steve Berens, MD ’66, and his wife Rita. Dr. Berens recorded stories of his classmates that occurred during their four years of medical school but were not generally known by all. The following is a selection of some of those recollections. They have been edited for length and clarity.

Told by Bill Fulhorst, MD

We were doing our first obstetrics-rotation deliveries at Harbor General Hospital, and it was my turn. I put on the drapes, and I went to put it on the patient’s stirrups, and I hit the lamp. The nurse says, “Got to do it again.” I got another drape, and hit the other lamp. “Oh, no, you got to do it again,” she said. Ok, third drape, third lamp. I still hadn’t draped the patient. Fourth drape, fourth lamp. The nurse says to me, “That’s it, guy. We have one left.” So I finally got that one, and I was so excited when the baby came out that I dropped it. Luckily, the umbilical cord stopped it. It went boing.

Told by Ralph Armstrong, MD

Will Chamberlain and I met over the cadaver table in gross anatomy on our first day of medical school. We became good friends. Do you remember biochemistry our first semester? It was sort of a marathon writing contest to get all the notes and formulas and stuff down. So Will and I were sitting next to each other in this lecture. I’m writing like a fury trying to keep everything going, page after page after page. And I could tell Will is just as busy as I am. We get to the end of this, and I’m kind of catching my breath, “Oh my God.” So I look over to see how Will’s doing, only to discover that the whole time he’s been working on a really nice, eight-and-a-half- by-eleven drawing of a giraffe. And the professor asks, “Are there any questions?” Will raises his hand and asks a perfectly intelligent, cogent question that suggested he actually understood the material that I’ve been trying to write down the whole time. And that’s when I realized that he’s not only really a bright guy, but a completely different kind of cat.

Told by Leonard Kutnik, MD

It was our first clinical rotation at Harbor when we were on obstetrics, and Barry Swerdloff and I were on one evening. A Latina woman gave birth, and as you recall, if the mother is not going to breastfeed, it’s important to give an injection right at that time to dry up the milk production. The delivery nurse comes to the nurse’s station and says, “I don’t know what to do. This lady just gave birth, and she doesn’t speak any English, and I need to figure out whether to give her the shot or not.” Ordinarily, there was at least one Spanish-speaking nurse or aide or somebody on the floor that could handle this, but not this night. So Barry stands up, and he says, “I took some Spanish. I can probably handle this.” Off we go to the delivery room, and we go in, and he speaks Spanish to the woman. And she totally goes into hysterics and begins thrashing and yelling, “No, no, no, no.” Barry speaks to her again, and she has the same hysterical reaction. The delivery-room nurse is smart enough to get us out of there, and we go back to the nurse’s station, and Barry sits there, and then says, “Oh, I think I know what happened. I think I got my verbs mixed up. I think I asked her if she wanted to eat the baby.”

Told by Stephen Steinfeldt, MD

We were in the anatomy lab, and we were doing the epiploic foramen. I took a penny and I stuck it down deep in the epiploic foramen. I said to Stewart Chapman, who was reading Time magazine or something like that, “Stewart, I feel something down there. Why don’t you see what it is. It feels kind of hard.” He says, “There’s nothing down there.” I say, “Look, I’m telling you.” He says, “It’s the middle of the belly. There’s nothing down there.” I say, “Stewart, there’s something down there.” So he finally goes in there, and he kind of touches on it, and he starts going after it, and he finds this penny. “Stewart, what have you got?” “It’s a penny.” “Stewart, that’s amazing. How did it get there?” Well, he has this theory on how it could get into the epiploic foramen. He got it out of the stomach. He went running down to the front of the room saying, “I found a penny! I found a penny!” He showed it to one of the attending surgeons, and the surgeon looks at him, comes back to the table, and says, “All right, who did it?” The surgeon nailed me.

Told by Will Chamberlain, MD

During surgical rotation, we were listening to a lecture by Dr. Ronald Thompson, and I was sitting in the back of the room. Dr. Thompson was a very good lecturer, and he gave a very good lecture on ulcerative colitis, but it was a long lecture, and I hadn’t had anything to eat all morning. The clock was ticking, and we were supposed to be dismissed exactly at noon to go for a half-hour lunch, and I kept looking at that clock, and the hand kept creeping by the middle of the 12, it went on to five minutes later, 10 minutes later, and almost 60 minutes later. And I just couldn’t stand it. He was describing factors at the time that contributed to ulcerative colitis. I stuck up my hand at the back row, and I said, “Dr. Thompson.” He said, “Yes, Will?” I said, “Does extreme hunger ever contribute to getting ulcerative colitis?” He turned red in the face. He grabbed his chalk, slammed down the chalk, said, “Class dismissed,” and he stomped out. After that, we went to lunch. All I remember about lunch was that the other students inched away from me, so I kind of sat by myself at the end of the table, but I could hear their conversation, and they were talking about me in the past tense: “Will, he was a promising medical student. He showed some signs of promise in the medical profession. Too bad about Will.”

Told by John Buster, MD

We never saw our transcripts. I know I never saw mine. Then I moved back to Houston, and I had to submit my transcript to get a new license. So the transcript shows that I got a bad grade in a little two-unit biophysics course. I had no idea, but I heard my secretary talking about how I got a bad grade. She told everybody!

Told by Harold Coons, MD

Do you remember Walter Dishell? He was a surgical resident. One day, Vibul Vadakan is in the ER, and he’s sewing up a laceration. One of the ER techs was a real avid scuba diver, and he had his mask and his fins and everything there. So Dishell comes down, puts on the fins, puts on the mask, takes a sheet, and draws a big A on it, and walks in and says to Vibul, “You’re doing a fine job. Aquaman is proud of you.”

Told by Roger Delwiche, MD

After our first big anatomy exams, a lot of people went out to celebrate. It seemed that most everyone was married, so they went home afterward to their wives, but there were some of us who weren’t. My roommate, Robert Lawrence, and I said, “Geez, the night is still young. We got to find something to do.” It was the night of the California gubernatorial election, Pat Brown’s second election. So we thought we’d go down there, they might have parties or something like that we could go to. But then we thought they’d have so much security, we’d never get in. So instead, we decided to go the Beverly Hilton, and that’s where the Republican was—Nixon. And they didn’t have the security that they would have these days. We put on our suits, and we made these nametags that said Student American Medical Association for Nixon, and we went to the hotel. We couldn’t get in the front door, so we went around the back. The candidate was up on the 13th floor. We waited until no one was looking, and went in and went up to the 13th floor, and, sure enough, they were having all these parties. We met all the people who ended up being big deals in the Nixon administration — H.R. Haldeman, and I think John Ehrlichman was there. We were in one room, and I remember Pat Nixon crying. We were there most of the night. At the end of the night, that’s when Nixon gave his famous, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” speech.

 

 





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