- Del Meyer, MD - http://delmeyer.net -

One Hundred Forty-seven Years Ago (1850-1857)

J Roy Jones, MD, in his History of the Medical Society of the State of California, recorded that on May 2, 1850, the Medico-Chirurgical Association of Sacramento was organized for the purpose of the “cultivation of science; the promotion of honor, dignity and interest of the profession, and the separation of the regular from the irregular practitioners.” The following month on June 22, 1850, San Francisco physicians came together to organize their first medical society. For two weeks, beginning on February 24, 1856, a daily notice appeared in the San Francisco and Sacramento newspapers stating: “WHEREAS, The time has come for medical men of the Pacific Coast to turn their attention to the elevation of the profession, and whereas an efficient State Medical Society would do much towards accomplishing the result, therefore, RESOLVED, That we the members of the Sacramento Medical Society and of the San Francisco County Medico-Chirurgical Society, consider it not presuming too much to take the initiatory steps by inviting the medical men of California generally to meet in convention for the purpose of organizing a State Medical Society…” The second annual session of the California State Medical Society was again held in Sacramento on Wednesday, February 11, 1857. President, Benjamin F Keene, the first president (from El Dorado Co) had expired on September 5, 1956 and senior Vice-President, Dr E S Cooper occupied the Chair. Dr J F Montgomery of Sacramento greeted the assemblage and expressed appreciation to the Sacramento Society for having been granted the privilege of being host to the State Society, reiterated the why, what and when for a general communion, and stated that if the objectives were attained, even in a measure, the profession would thereby command more of the public confidence. Delegates were received from the San Francisco Pathological Society, Sacramento Medical Society, El Dorado County Medical Society, San Francisco County Medical Society, San Francisco County Medico-Chirurgical Association, Yuba County Medical Society, and the Sacramento Pathological Society.

Forty years ago (March 1957)
Dear Editor: “…it was quite obvious that the chairman of our Medico-Legal Committee did not agree with the chairman of our Insurance Committee on the subject of Mal-Practice. The debate between these two gentlemen had been constructive and of considerable educational value … until recently. At the last meeting of the Sutter Hospital Staff the ex-chairman of the Medico-Legal Committee was granted time to make a speech… He is an excellent public speaker. Aside from the questionable propriety of such a speech at a hospital staff meeting, I for one, am convinced that the Society will eventually arrive at more mature and practical decisions in this matter if the arguments–pro and con–be confined to the pages of this journal. Although there are a few among us having rhetorical ability with the spoken word, most doctors are accustomed to present their ideas in writing and are more comfortable in this medium. Much of the unfair advantage of quick-witted repartee, ridicule and sarcasm is neutralized when ideas appear on the printed page. For example it looks rather ridiculous to say that we should ignore the advice of the Medical Protective Company of Fort Wayne, (the only company that is exclusively engaged in the business of malpractice insurance…for more years than any of us have lived). Yet this same idea, embellished with appropriate sarcasm, sounded real good in the speech at the Sutter Hospital…” The editor replied: “The ideas expressed in this column may be at times controversial. The widest possible latitude will be allowed, and there will be no editorial interference with the contents of the letters. All sides of any question will be considered.”

Twenty seven years ago (March 1970)
The cover article concerned the CMA Session which acted on abortion reform, national health, malpractice, a statement against strikes, reported the start of the CMA Continuation Medical Education plan, and announced a dues increase from $90 to $110… Dr Paul Hattersley had a column “The Publishing Sacramento Medic” which reviewed 6 publications by members and requested that doctors report their publications to him… Dr R Alexander had an “Eating Out” column in which he critiqued the Ram Restaurant, Marina Inn, and the Warehouse Cafe in Port Costa… Bill Dochterman calculated that the state premium for each MediCal recipient was $47.75 per month while the Foundation plan was $13.56 a month and suggested that the state simply buy each MediCal recipient a private insurance policy.