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Interview with Richard Corbett, May 5, 2005 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Title:
Interview with Richard Corbett, May 5, 2005
Date:
May 5, 2005
Description:
Dr. Richard Corbett knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Thanks to mentoring from Drs. Sinclair and Mebane at Bulluck Hospital - he did just that and graduated from Wake Forest Medical School in 1957. He studied radiology and notes many of the transitions in this field. Besides his memories of Bulluck Hospital Clinic he also recalls the Community, James Walker, Cape Fear and New Hanover Hospitals. He retired in 1990 only to come back to work a few months later and was still interpreting and consulting at the time of this interview.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Corbett, Richard Interviewer: Mims, LuAnn / Parnell, Jerry Date of Interview: 5/5/2005 Series: Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length 60 minutes

Mims: Today is May the fifth, two thousand and five. I'm LuAnn Mims with Jerry Parnell for the Randall Library Special Collections. We're continuing our series on Health Services of Southeastern North Carolina. We have with us today, Dr. Richard Corbett who is a long time Wilmington physician. Good morning...good afternoon actually.

Corbett: Yep.

Mims: Dr. Corbett, if you could begin by telling us a little bit about your family history. Where were you from?

Corbett: Actually my family began in Pender and Bladen County. You know, Pender actually was a part of New Hanover till after the Civil War and then they...it was a branch off of that, named after General William Dorsey Pender.

Mims: Um hum.

Corbett: But both grandparents lived only a mile apart. One lived in Bladen County and one lived in Pender County. And my mother and father were, as I say, only a mile apart, so my dad had dated her...my mother's sister for seven years, and married my mother in two weeks. So it was one of those things, but we...I have an older brother and a younger sister...and I was actually born up at Lake Waccamaw. So we were up in Columbus County and then my dad had a farm over in Pender County and we stayed there until about 1935 when we moved to Detroit, Michigan and he worked in the factories up there until nineteen thirty nine. Then we came back south. And I've been here ever since except for the time away for school and that sort of thing.

Mims: Was that during the depression that you guys moved?

Corbett: We...I was born in 1921, so I was born right as, probably in the height of the depression. But people who were on the farms, usually fared pretty well, in the sense that you at least had food. And so, then, as I say, when Henry Ford began his real program to put assembled cars together, he attracted a lot of people to Detroit. And he went up to be with the Continental Motors. That was a big manufacture of motors for a lot of the cars, for Chrysler and some of the others too. But we, as I say, I grew up mainly in Pender until we went to...and then came back in 1939. And we've been here ever since. We originated...originally settled over in Sunset Park for about two years until I was in the fourth grade and then we moved to Winter Park and then from there we have gone in different directions, so...

Mims: What did your dad do he returned to Wilmington?

Corbett: He was in transportation. The fact is, he became the first regional supervisor for Overnight Transportation Corporation. That was a separate entity many...back until about 1975 when it was bought out by Union Pacific.

Mims: So this is part of the railroad?

Corbett: No. It was strictly a trucking company. Strictly trucking. He was the southeastern agent for Overnight Transportation.

Mims: Hum. Where did you go to school in Wilmington?

Corbett: Started at Sunset Park, then moved to Winter Park, then went to New Hanover High School. You know, we all went through the eighth grade in the...what they called a grammar school back then, through the eighth grade. Then ninth grade through the twelfth was a New Hanover. And there were only two high schools then, you know, one was Williston, and the other was New Hanover. So that's...I graduated there and went to Wake Forest.

Mims: Wake Forest?

Corbett: Um hum.

Mims: Now, when you went to Wake, what was your intent of study?

Corbett: Well, you know, it's kind of interesting, thinking about people today and talking to children. I wanted to be a doctor ever since I can remember. I can remember as a child, even, you know, in grammar school, that my aunts and uncles would call me Doctor Dick. And it was always...that's all...all I ever wanted to do. And where it really took on meaning was, you've probably heard them talk about Dr. Mebane, and of course you've met Dr. Sinclair. But both of them were such wonderful people and they did so much for Wilmington. And the...I was at a ballgame one night, and Dr. Mebane came over, and I think I must have been probably a sophomore in high school, and he came over and sat by me at the ballgame...and that was...I just look back on that as a tremendous honor. And he said, "I understand you're interested in studying medicine." And I said, "Yes, I am." And he said, "Well would you like to come down sometime to Bulluck Hospital?" And I said, "I would be delighted." And so he let me come down and observe an operation.

And then after that they would...they would let me come down regularly and during the summers after I finished in high school, they would let me work in the summers. I...I...noticing in Dr. Sinclair's book that he said that, you know, when he was in med school during his junior/senior year, that he worked under doc...the Drs. Bulluck down there. So that is sort of the way I did.

I would go and work the summers and do, sort of histories and physicals and things, and they really trained me to be an excellent surgical assistant. That's not a bragging thing, it's just that they did it, you know. And it relieved one of them, you see, they did a lot of surgery. And that meant that one of 'em could stay seeing patient's while I was assisting. Today we call 'em a PA, you know, like the professional assistant. And it worked...worked out really well. And it...it gave me tremendous training too in that. And, of course at the same time, you see, Dr. Sinclair did Radiology. There was...Bulluck...Bulluck Hospital was one of the first to have an X-ray unit, you know.

Mims: Really?

Corbett: Yea. And I was trying to get some figures...I can't find out exactly what year, maybe you'd have it, that Bulluck was completed.

Mims: 1920, I think.

Corbett: 1920. Well, that fits. And they had really the very latest. It was...it was the neatest little hospital. You know, there were thirty-four beds, they had a wonderful laboratory, and an excellent technician and all that, while I was there. I learned so much from each one of these, you know, being there, as the, what you might call the solo intern. You just...they took you under their wings and just taught everything they could. And the same thing with...with the radiology. They not only had the diagnostic radiology, but they had the, what we called deep therapy, but it's...it's really called Orthovoltage. And so, I got to observe him doing...Dr. Sinclair doing radiation therapy as well as doing the diagnostic radiology all in the little Bulluck Hospital.

Mims: Now, most of what we've read about Bullucks is that Dr. Bulluck's goal in setting up this hospital was to advance surgical practices. I guess at James Walker they were just doing, you know, regular stuff, but that he wanted something a little bit more in depth...is that...?

Corbett: Yes. Yes. The thing that's kind of sad is, both of them died young. Had they not, and as wonderful as that little hospital clinic was...it was called the Bulluck Hospital Clinic...and you see, that's how Mayo began...as a small entity like that...and they were the Mayo brothers, and this would have been one of those things that could have been developed in the south by those two men, had they not died so young, you know. But you see, they had the money. They built that hospital. And back then, that was a lot of money, because they were in a prime location...

Mims: Yes.

Corbett: ...right there on Front Street, next to the biggest building in Wilmington, you know, is what we call the Murchison Building; it's First Union Building now. But that was...it was such a beautiful set up, I don't...have you ever been down there and looked at the front of it?

Mims: I have, and we've read a description that the entry lobby was just huge, and wasn't for the patient's or any of the practices, that those were on the upper floors.

Corbett: That's right, second and third floor.

Mims: But that...but that the lobby was very ornate and just open.

Corbett: Um hum, yep. Had an elevator, which you know, of course, not every place had elevators back in those days. And I can remember it had a black lady who was faithful to run it, by the name of Sarah. I never new Sarah's last name, but Sarah ran the elevator, and of course, all of the surgery was up on the third floor in the rear which actually had a view out over the river, which was very nice. And they...they did OB and all of that as you probably...if...if you get Dr. Sinclair's book it tells about Dr. Walker was the one who did the obstetrics and gynecology over there.

Mims: See, now, I wasn't aware they were delivering babies there.

Corbett: Yes they were.

Mims: Really?

Corbett: Yea. Um hum.

Mims: Hum.

Corbett: And...but then they got to the point...by the time I was with them, they did no deliveries there. They did a lot of surgery, urology, and general surgery. But both of 'em continued to deliver babies, but mainly Dr. Mebane and...when they had a call, they would run out to James Walker. That's where they would do the delivery. The fact is, during the summer Dr. Mebane would go down to his summer home on Harbor Island and didn't have a telephone, so I would stay in his...his home up there on Wrightsville Avenue. And that's...that's another tragedy...the homes that he and his father and mother had...they were right there on the corner of College and Wrightsville Avenue...where that GoGas is.

Parnell: And didn't...one of the fraternities used it during the '70s.

Mims: That's right!

Corbett: That's right, that's right!

Mims: Yea.

Corbett: Oh, it was so...oh it just...yea, beautiful brick home and then the other one was lapboard siding that was next...

Mims: I remember those!

Corbett: And I just hated so much to see those torn down because they were, you know, just like landmarks.

Mims: Well, Sinclair's house is still standing down the street a little...

Corbett: Yes it is and I'm so thankful it is.

Mims: Yea, me too.

Corbett: It's a...it's a beautiful home. But there was no College Road at all. There was a little path that led back to Dick Beasley's farm. All this where the University is now, I used to ride horseback on, it was just nothing but wilderness, you know, I mean, forest was what it was.

Mims: Uh huh.

Corbett: But it...it's kind of interesting, because one of Dr. Mebane's primary patients was the Mr. Trask, who's the one who is the patriarch of all of the Trasks around here. and Dr. Mebane told me one day that Mr. Trask offered him all this land in here for seventeen dollars an acre.

Mims: Yea, this...what they...who they called Web Trask?

Corbett: That was...Web is his son...Web.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: And Raiford is a son.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: Yea it's Rai...Web, the one that you're probably talking about, is...

Mims: He's the old farmer.

Corbett: He's...yes.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: Okay, maybe he was...I'm trying to think what his

Mims: I think...like I said, I did some agricultural history and I kind of linked in a little bit to them.

Corbett: Yea.

Mims: But very interesting, because I knew that they...Pine Valley was Trask.

Corbett: Yes, yes.

Mims: But it came all the way up...?

Corbett: And College Acres, and...well there...all that Windemere section, all that area.

Mims: Right and Duck Haven.

Corbett: Oh and Duck Haven is theirs too, yea. And Mr. Raiford, you know, just did so much for the University. He deserves a lot of credit for all he did. He was a wonderful man.

Mims: A lot of donations.

Corbett: Yea, yea.

Mims: And...and pulling together the initial six hundred thirty six acres was very...

Corbett: That's right.

Mims: ...pretty much under his thumb too. Well, um, there are two issues that we keep coming up with Bulluck Hospital. You many know the answer, you may not. We have found that there were approximately three separate groups of nursing students that graduated from that. They had a small nursing school there. Do you re...have any memory of this at all?

Corbett: No. I don't...I wish I could have found out something, because I even tried to find an old nurse but I never did find her...the one I was telling you about that I thought could probably tell us about it, but I'll still be looking.

Mims: Well, I appreciate that, because the names we have...there was '25, '28 and '31...and some of those names go through Bullocks and go into Cape Fear Hospital.

Corbett: Um hum.

Mims: That their longevity and loyalty for this just maintained. The other question is that we talked to a Blanche Ambrose. She started...helped develop the LPN program at Cape Fear, and she remembers her husband being hospitalized at Bullucks and that he was served Greek food catered from Saffos.

Corbett: Exactly. Yea.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: Okay. That's...it's hard for people to picture how very busy Wilmington was back on those days. The streets...I mean, they were just packed with people. You know, as wide as they are now, they'd just be...be full. But Saffos was two doors down...Saffos Restaurant. But all the way along there there were wonderful restaurants...let's see, Crystal Restaurant, um...trying to think of some of the other names of the restaurants that were along there. But you see the Coastline Railroad was here, so these people had to have a place to...to eat. And then there was a very exclusive grocery store called the Groceteria...

Mims: I...I...yep!

Corbett: Have you heard of the Groceteria?

Mims: I have, yea!

Corbett: Yes, and they...I was telling someone, in fact it was my grandsons, about the meat that was sent to Wilmington. Back when regular meat would have been maybe thirty five cents a pound, the meat from the Groceteria was running well over a dollar a pound. It was...it was slaughtered and marked in Chicago for the Groceteria here in Wilmington.

Mims: Wow!

Corbett: So it was very, very exclusive.

Parnell: Bullucks did not have a cafeteria so the restaurant provided the food...?

Corbett: No, Bullucks did have a kitchen.

Parnell: Oh, it did?

Corbett: It did have a kitchen. But Ms. Ambrose probably...they wanted some Greek food!

Mims: They...they may have special ordered it.

Corbett: They had a wonderful...in fact his...the cook's main name was Marcella. Marcella was the cook. Oh she did the best things. I can remember that coming down, and after you'd been up in surgery all morning long, you'd be very tired and hungry, and wanting to sit down, and come in and they'd have lamb. And I did love lamb. And I'd say, "Oh man, lamb!" And Dr. Mebane used to say, "Dick don't say that, the nurses won't eat it!" And I looked...I thought everybody liked lamb! They used to... "Don't say that, if they know that's lamb..." They told 'em it was veal, you know, or something like that. But it was...there was a lot of really camaraderie there and I look back when I think about it, all the...the parts of...like the...the kitchen, and all of that.

And they had a wonderful administrator, Mr. C. D. Cunningham, and his assistant was Henrietta Broadhurst. And I'm trying to figure out if this Broadhurst here is any relation to...Speck Broadhurst was Henrietta's husband.

Mims: Ooooh.

Corbett: And he was very much involved in politics too. And he was chairman of the county commissioners at one time.

Mims: Um hum. That would be interesting to find that connection.

Corbett: Cause, yea, I wouldn't mind...I really wanted to...sometime at a social gathering, I'll just ask him if he's any relation.

Mims: Are...are any of the Bullock family still in town?

Corbett: No, Deedee was the last one. And, you know, there was one of 'em's son, Matt Bullock came back here as the first neurosurgeon to come to Wilmington.

Mims: Really?

Corbett: In nineteen...it was 1956. Because he operated on an uncle of mine who had a brain hemorrhage...

Mims: Right.

Corbett: ...in 1957. But he stayed for a while, and then, I think that we weren't really, I think, sophisticated enough...

Mims: The facilities weren't...

Corbett: ...the facilities weren't enough for him to stay on at either hospital. Cause you see, New Hanover didn't come into being until, what is it, 1967.

Mims: '67.

Corbett: Yea, um hum.

Parnell: Where did he...did he leave Wilmington and go, where, do you know?

Corbett: He had been at the Mayo Clinic. And I'm not sure whether he went back there, but he was...he was very well trained and just very wonderful man. Very quiet individual, and I think the townspeople were very much hoping he would...would stay, but there was...there was just not that much for him here, you know.

Mims: Well, like you said, Bullock was in an ideal location downtown. Doing a check of what was in the area, there was something with the Red Cross very near there, wasn't there? Was it a hospital or a clinic, like down the street, at one time?

Corbett: There was an office down on Front Street.

Mims: An office?

Corbett: Yes.

Mims: And that was...

Corbett: In fact, there's...

Mims: That's where the Marine Hospital was administrated from?

Corbett: Yes. Yes. And I'm trying to think of the...the movie star who's bought her...bought that place...

Mims: Oh, Linda Lavin.

Corbett: Linda Lavin, yes, yes.

Mims: Okay. Oh, I didn't realize that.

Corbett: Um hum.

Mims: Okay. Do you know anything about what the Salvation Army was doing during this period of time?

Corbett: No. The main thing is that you knew they were there, but as...to be doing anything specific, I can't...

Mims: We just had a reference that they had a...

Parnell: A hospital.

Mims: ...a hospital which we think was a maternity hospital, but we're not a hundred percent on that. So, that's just a question we keep throwing out!

Corbett: No, no. I don't...talking about Bulluck again though, you know, the...everything was focused downtown. All the doctors offices were mainly downtown, all of 'em, in the Murchison Building and all that. So the Bulluck Hospital had it's own ambulance service. It had...there was a basement under...you'd go at ground level there and there's a basement under there, but it opens in the back, and the Star News was all behind...I mean on the side in the bottom three floors of the Murchison Building...and so there was a passageway...if you're ever down on Chestnut Street walking toward the water, look back in there and you can see the passageway in there where the ambulance could go in. And they used it for storage in later years. I used to go down with Mr. Cunningham to take out, you know, they had to take out absolute alcohol, and it had...you had to have a witness to sign what was taken out, because it was so pure, that, you know, you could...it was...it was drinking alcohol, you might say, but you had to...have verify every ounce that was taken out before you could ever get any more from the ATF people, you know.

Mims: Did Bullucks have it's own pharmacy too?

Corbett: Limited, limited. In other words, they would have...they were able to dispense what drugs they really needed. Yea they...yes, they did. The...in fact, as I remember, adjacent to the office where Henrietta Broadhurst had her office there was a drug room. And she's the one who dispensed the...the medications. Did not have a pharmacist as such. Back in those days, so many of those things weren't required. You were required to keep records of things. Like if you use...like she would dispense the Demerol in tablets and things of this nature, well you had to have a record of all that.

Mims: So it was like...kind of like a little microscopic kind of hospital setting.

Corbett: Self contained. Absolutely.

Mims: Right.

Corbett: Um hum.

Mims: Um, if somebody was in need of a service that they couldn't provide, would you send 'em to another hospital?

Corbett: Yes, yes. Back then, if it couldn't be provided for, it was...you were pretty much out of luck with them anyways.

Mims: Well, I'm thinking like, pediatrics. Would they do kids?

Corbett: Oh yea, you remember...no, they did not do children. Well, they did surgery. They would do like appendectomies and tonsillectomies because Dr. Paul A. L. Black, I don't know whether you have heard that name...

Mims: I have heard, um hum.

Corbett: ...Paul was a very fine...he was of the old school...double EENT, you know, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology, and all of that. And he did tonsils down there. And fact is, I assisted him with that and the fact is, he took my tonsils out sitting up in a chair, you know. They didn't...they didn't do a lot of anesthesia...just take Xylocaine or actually it was Novocain back then, they would just inject it in your...around there and cut 'em out...and send you on your way. I drove home! You know, I think about how foolish that was today. I mean you could have had a hemorrhage and been right out on the street there.

Mims: It's incredible, isn't it?

Corbett: Oh it...you know, things have come a long way. The only thing is that you can see why things are so expensive today. Bulluck's was set up to completely make its own saline, its own glucose, its own solutions. We never had to send out to buy packs of stuff that would be thrown away. All of the syringes and all of that were...were cauterized and you had a little...little vial that you put in there. If it...if it was not discolored when it came out you knew the packet's not sterile. And I can remember even sharpening needles. I mean, that's the worlds worst thing...

Mims: On the little...?

Corbett: ...yea, we had a little file. And they you would pull in a piece of cotton to see if it had a barb on it, you know, that sort of thing. But the ones today are so much finer, I just...but it's caused a lot of the increase in costs.

Mims: Well, not to mention the disposables now...latex gloves, or...

Corbett: Yes, yes...

Mims: ...and the, you know, paper gowns and all of that. But back then it was all material.

Corbett: All was laundered, that's right. All of it was laundered and sterilized in the autoclave. And of course they had the...the water baths for immediate sterilization. Say something like an instrument fell on the floor, you could immediately sterilize it in the boiling water technique. But everything else was put under a big cautery, a big tank that would be under great pressure.

Mims: In our studies we know that James Walker primarily serviced white...

Corbett: Yes.

Mims: ...and they had the colored annex. And then we had Community Hospital for African Americans.

Corbett: Um hum, um hum.

Mims: How did Bullucks deal with the race issue? Was it segregated at all? Were people of color allowed in?

Corbett: Yes, they would. The main thing is that most of those, if you remember, probably in talking to Dr. Sinclair, most of the blacks that would have been admitted would have been industrial. You remember...all of the stevedores...that's another thing, to really...if you could just have pictured the waterfront of Wilmington back in those days, you know, a train ran right down through the middle of water street and those ships came in at an angle, they didn't come in parallel like you see these up here. And then they had these great cotton compresses, you know, the Champion compress and all of that. And of course people would get hurt. And that was what I was starting to say about the ambulance, you see, the ambulances come...they came right to the front door of the hospital. And that always caused a great amount of excitement, you know, when the ambulance would come and bring people in through the front of the hospital. But most of the blacks were...were taken to either Community, particularly our two doctors, and I used to go out there to assist them, out at Community Hospital too, and I was really glad to have had that experience...because they had, I thought, a really good nursing program. And you got to meet a lot of the doc...the doctors that were there.

And the main thing is that they needed...they needed a lot of help. And they just...they...the others in town really weren't that supportive of 'em. But, Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Mebane both worked out there. They would go out and Dr. Sinclair, you know, supervised their X-ray and all that sort of thing, and then he would go down regularly. Well, I would go down when they would say "we're going out to Community to do a certain procedure" or something like that, and so I would go with 'em for that.

Mims: Well, I was able to speak with an Anesthesiologist, or Anesthetist from Community, and she verified that she was invited to Bullucks to witness operations that Dr. Sinclair thought she needed to see to better her standing there at Community. So we know that the racial barrier was not as acute at Bullucks. It seemed like more open for the...the health services to get better in town.

Corbett: Yes, yes. It...it was probably more related to the fact that...that so many of the blacks did not come to town a lot of times for their general medical care but the industrial ones would come there. I can remember too, meeting the old Dr...oh I can't think of the old...old black physician who was up there...I think he was on Grace or Walnut Street...it'll come to me in a minute.

Mims: Not Dr. Avant?

Corbett: Yea, Dr. Avant. I knew Dr. Avant too. And he was...he was such a gentleman, just so...

Mims: And then Foster Burnett. He would've died in the '40s.

Corbett: I didn't know him at all. That was his son-in-law, I believe, wasn't it?

Mims: Yea, Dr. Eaton's right?

Corbett: Um hum.

Parnell: You said they had really good nursing...nurses at Community?

Corbett: Yea.

Parnell: Did you, by any chance, know Salome Taylor?

Corbett: No.

Parnell: She left right in the late '40s, so I...and came back in the '50s for a while.

Corbett: Yea. No, I...I regret I didn't know any of the...the main thing is that they had a very active student nurse program out there too. And it was always...they were always very neat. It was one of the things I was always impressed with. And it was...a great deal of respect when Dr. Sinclair or Dr. Mebane would come in. I think they just had tremendous respect for them. And it was...it was just a, you know, a pleasure to go over there. And I'm just so glad to have seen some of these things that are gone, you know. There just is no recalling...

Mims: We're glad you saw them too!

Corbett: ...recalling them at all.

Mims: Well, so Bulluck was like the industrial niche, more or less?

Corbett: No it was...it was private, cause they had a lot of private patients. But the main thing is that the compensation...I'm trying to think what they would call it back then...

Mims: Worker's Comp.

Corbett: Worker's comp and all that, Dr. Sinclair and Mebane had the majority of contracts on all that stuff.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: And I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that Bulluck was downtown where all the action was.

Parnell: Right.

Corbett: Yea. Most of your injuries were gonna be close down there and they would bring 'em up to there. And they knew that no matter what, that Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Mebane would stop. In other words, priority...they were...they got primary care. In other words, not ex...neglecting anyone, but getting these people who were acutely injured, you know, if they'd been injured, say, in some accident on the river.

Mims: Um, let's get back to your schooling. Did you complete all of your medical training at Wake?

Corbett: Yes, I went from...I went to the old school at Wake Forest College.

Mims: Um hum.

Corbett: And then I was accepted at the med school after three years and then went to Winston Salem and, you know, they were building the new school. I was at Wake when President Truman came and broke ground in Winston Salem. So stood right as close as...well, in fact, it was closer cause he was sitting in the car and I got up to stand up there beside him. But the...that was in 1952. And then they started building the school and so when I went to Winston Salem in 1953, they were well on their way to having the school built. And so at the end of the class of '56, when class of '56 graduated, they moved all the students to Winston Salem and we had the first consolidated graduation. That was the first...they took away the med school's spring vacation so they could be moved up from a June graduation into a May graduation. And that way, I graduated in the first class of the university of 1957.

Mims: Goodness. Where did you do your residency?

Corbett: Okay. I went into the Navy. I did not have...a lot of people as, "Well, did the Navy pay for your program?" No. I went into the Navy because I really wanted a rotating internship and I have two medical students now, and I try to tell 'em that is probably the best way to learn medicine is to do a rotating internship. And I still draw on a lot of the things that I learned back then. Because, like, I had a month on plastic surgery, and I mean I learned to do some really nice plastic work, mainly on just simple sutures. Like if somebody cuts their face or something, to do it...and do it correctly. I had a nephew that...we were all down in Atlanta for a Christmas holiday, and the kids were out there putting up a tent. And one of 'em was using an ax with the blade up like this, and the other one leaned over to see what he was doing and hit him right up there...had a big, big cut. Well, I went to the hospital...took him to the hospital...the local there in Atlanta, and I told them who I was and that I wanted to do the suturing myself.

Well they...they just...you know, nobody does...would let you do that. But, the nurse said, "I'll have to call the chief of surgery." And so he came down, and he stood there, and he watched and I prepped everything. And when I put my first suture in, which meant it would be one that the knot would be down on the bottom pulling the tissues back so it wouldn't be, you know, sometimes you see these things have little grooves in them?...he said "Doctor, I'll see ya," and walked out. So the main thing was there that we got good training in the Navy.

I had a rotating internship. And then from there they wanted to send me to Okinawa, and I got orders to Okinawa. But the week before I was to go a telegram came and told me to report to Bethesda Naval Hospital. That's the Navy's showplace, you know, in Radiology. And so, I didn't argue a bit. I just went on up there. So I spent three years up there and then I went over to the University of Chicago for a fellowship in Radiotherapy.

Mims: So you're...the whole time you've been tracking for Radiology.

Corbett: Yes.

Mims: You knew...

Corbett: Yes. After my internship I...I went straight with Radiology.

Mims: Why did you pick that?

Corbett: Well, you know, I think it was one of those things that was kind of interesting...Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Mebane were so wonderful, they were just so gentle people, but when I got to dealing with other surgeons, I found out they ain't all that pleasant, you know!

Mims: (laughing) We've heard this before!

Corbett: And I'd say, "Gosh that's not...doesn't suit my personality to grow horns every time I walk through the door of an operating suite," you know, they become a monster! So...and also, I was very interested in pediatrics, and I almost went in ped...and fact is, the chairman of the department of pediatrics never spoke to me again. He said, "I matching for you...". I said "Dr. Kelsey, I'm...I'm wanting a rotating internship first, then I'll come back if it works out." But Baptist and Bowman Gray had one of the most outstanding Radiologists in the whole United States. His name was Isadore Meschan. And he has written something over 54 books, all them wonderful books in Radiology. And he was so gentle. And fact is, I was sitting with Dr. Maynard when Dr. Meschan said he was gonna retire. And Dr. Maynard said, "Who in the world could take his place?" Well he became the chairman of the department.

But what was really interesting in that, when they had the roasting of Dr. Meschan, they said the worst thing they'd ever heard Dr. Meschan say was "Oh my." And when I went into the Navy there was a Dr. Lloyd Brown, and he was the same way. Just, you know, if something happens, let's handle it. Don't get upset, just handle it. And that really...I think the demeanor of these men really attracted me a great deal in that. And Dr. Sinclair, after he and Dr. Mebane dissolved their surgical practice...became just a radiologist too. And so he would...he had always such a gentle nature about him.

Mims: It's very interesting, this whole field, and the dynamics that have changed. Speaking with our interview yesterday, she was discussing her father's career that began in the mid twenties and how he was actually doing all of the...the film taking and this stuff himself. Now, when you came along, was that part of your job, or were you mainly just reading the X-rays.

Corbett: No, just reading, and doing the...back then the only thing you had much in radiology was doing fluoroscopy. And that was doing, say, studies like barium enemas and GI series, bronchoscopes, and things...bronchograms, rather. Because the MRI, CT and all of that came...I was one of the first trained in nuclear medicine. See, that came in after World War II because of the atomic energy and all of that sort of thing. So I trained in that, and the Navy was a leader in that program there at Bethesda. And they were even doing total body radiation for leukemia and lymphomas and things like that in children. That was very, very early on, and they had really wonderful X-ray equipment there. They had a Vandegraff generator as well as several orthovoltage machines and they didn't have cobalt when I got there...Chicago, though, you see, they were advancing from Vangergraft generator, which was a three-milli equivalent volt type of betatron.

Then we moved into cobalt, and cobalt's a natural occurring source of radiation. All you do is open a shutter and that was why it was called a bomb, you know, sort of like a big bomb...it had a shutter control on it, and when you'd open it, the radia...the rays would come out, and of course the source is decaying naturally all the time. So if you could work the thing 24 hours a day, you'd get more for your money, you know.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: But...then from there, they moved to linear accelerator and that linear accelerator was almost as big as this whole end of the building. But now you can put it in a little room about...base...the size of that table there. That's what they have out here. But linear accelerator meant...in radiation, your real problem was in your exit dose. You know, you're...you're wanting the dose to go to the middle or to the center part of the...where the tumor was. But always the exit does caused a lot of what they call a burn. We call it the radiation effect. But with the linear accelerator you could dial it down, say like if a person is this big, you could dial it down and level it off right at the level of the...the tumor. So that's why it is advanced so much. That's a linear accelerator.

Mims: And I know now they're doing those things with those little capsule inserts.

Corbett: Yes, yes, yes. And also the little radon seeds, you know...

Mims: Right.

Corbett: ...where they capture...now radon is taking the gas that comes off of radium and trapping it in these little seeds and putting those in the prostates mainly...

Mims: Right.

Corbett: ...through prostate glands. And that way you don't lose your functions and all that sort of thing. And incontinent...so many people have become incontinent following prostatectomy and all this sort of thing.

Mims: We heard you mention, and we heard her [Roxanna Miller] mention yesterday, about this deep therapy...

Corbett: Um hum, um hum.

Mims: Can you give us a little overview of that?

Corbett: To go back on something you asked about...

Mims: Sure.

Corbett: The...the first people in Radiology were not in these. They were...there was a Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell.

Mims: Yea.

Corbett: And her parents...her father began working with Mrs. Caldwell because Dr. Caldwell had died. They were what they called radiographers...radiographers. They could take the films, but they couldn't interpret them. They were not allowed to interpret them. That's where you needed a physician who knew medicine to be able to interpret it. And she'd probably tell you her father had been sick and had to go back and he studied pathology and he studied EKGs...and I can remember when I came along, that EKG...it was like that was the most wonderful thing in the world. Well, one machine...everybody's got 'em now, you know, you can almost have one in your own back yard if you want. But the radi...he bought out Mrs. Caldwell.

Mims: Um hum.

Corbett: And...you're talking about...the X-rays were just like these doctors having private things in their offices and what happened was that as a matter of convenience to the hospital patients, the radiologists began moving into the hospitals, you see, and leasing space...

Mims: I see.

Corbett: But they still owned it. See Dr...Dr. Mebane owned...I mean, Dr. Barefoot owned all of his equipment. And everything in there was his. The only thing is, he leased space from the hospital and they gave him a...sort of a good rate on it, mainly for the fact that he gave them the convenience of having it...having it in the hospital and the patients could be brought down and X-rayed and sent back up. The patients didn't have to be put in the ambulance and carted to...

Mims: Right.

Corbett: ...some office somewhere.

Mims: It's unbelievable that that service would not be in a hospital.

Corbett: Well it just...you think not, but then...and then there was the same way...well, of course Bullocks did, but you see, they were a private diagnostic clinic. And when they built it, they built the X-ray in the hospital and also the deep therapy that you're talking about, deep X-ray therapy.

Mims: Was that for cancer?

Corbett: Yes. Mainly...you could do right many things, but I...as I say, your limitation was in your exit dose...because of the amount that you could give for what we call radiation effective burning of something, you know. That was the big thing. And, but so many back then had so many...there were so many people in agriculture, that you had a lot of skin cancers. And these were wonderful for skin cancer. And what you'd do is you would make a cut out of lead as a shield, and then you would give the radiation to the area that had the cancer. And you could cure 'em with one dose, but what happens if you did that, you'd wind up usually with a bad scar. And where it was really, especially important, was...I can remember having some patients that had them under the eye...and if you did that, you...you'd have...wind up with it being pulled down like that, you know, it's called an ectropion. But the main thing is, like I used to tell 'em, "if you'll let me work with you and protract it, that is give it over a period of time..." and they would, also I'd tell 'em...make up a solution that was simple...but take a...eight ounces of water, a teaspoon of sugar, and a fourth of a teaspoon of salt, and bring that to a boil, and it would stay in solution.

But what they would do would be make up a quart of it and then afterwards you would put that on there and it...just a soft pack, and it kept if from forming a crust. Main thing, crusts or scabs as people call 'em, are what cause scarring.

Mims: Right.

Corbett: And so you do this and I remember not too terribly long ago I came across a patient...he said, "Do you remember me?" And I said, "Yes I do, very well." And his skin from that...after the cancer was gone was so beautiful and pink and clear. And by the time I saw him you could never ever tell anything...in other words it had faded and so it was really, really perfect. But we treated mainly...you could treat lung cancers and you could treat mainly breast cancers where, back in those days we used what they call the McWorter technique. You would take the whole breast off and then you would put a port in where the sternum is like this, because you have lymph nodes under there.

Mims: Right.

Corbett: And then you have lymph nodes up in this area called the scalene, and then the axillary nodes...and you'd put an anterior port his way and an anterior port this way and turn 'em over and then treat the back side in that same...on...only on the shoulder part, you wouldn't treat this in here. But I still see some people that I treated back years and years ago. And it was a matter in taking your time and doing it right. Just don't get in a hurry. Then, but with...with cobalt and linear accelerator, came in the sectoring...you know, you could do all...you could just pin point the lesion and this thing would sector all the way around. Go totally around, three hundred sixty degrees.

Mims: Is that still Radiology, or is that moving into Nuclear?

Corbett: No, no, that's still...that's still Radiology.

Mims: Really?

Corbett: Radio...they call it Radiotherapy now, or Radiation Oncology...that's the more formal term for it.

Mims: Um, another curiosity is, you know, is the radiation poisoning, or, you know, just the effects of too much radiation on people, as a physician or a tech...technologist. These safeguards went into place, but Ms. [Roxanna] Miller talks about some older doctors losing fingers because of this.

Corbett: Um hum, yea.

Mims: Did you ever witness this?

Corbett: Yes. When I was a Wake, you see, Dr. Russo, and then there was a Dr. Moore, who's son came here as a Neurosurgeon, but Dr. Moore was the chairman of the department of orthopedics at Wake. And Dr. Russo and Dr. Moore had lost fingers. And they had very scaly cancerous hands, because, you see, there's no smell, no odor, no taste, nothing, to radiation, so they didn't know that it was harmful and they would manipulate...like bones...if a person was, had a fracture, they'd put their hands under and manipulate the fracture and line it up under there. But they didn't use the lead gloves. They didn't know to use lead gloves. And so that's why that happened to that...also, before the radiologists got things shielded as well as they are, a lot of 'em came down with leukemia. The fact is, they used to say that that was the hazardous...occupational hazard of Radiology, was that you'd get leukemia. The only thing that was kind of interesting was, they were finding the radiologists with their leukemia was living longer than the other doctors were without it, you know.

In other words, the other doctors were killing themselves having heart attacks, and so the way of life was better. But it's very rare to ever hear of one getting...and, of course, even though I never go in a room with radiation, I still wear the monitoring badges...and all my...all my people do. And I check that every month to see that there's no one being exposed unnecessarily.

Mims: Well she talked about her dad just wearing a leather apron, not even leaded.

Corbett: That' right, early on, that's...but later on they were all lead and very, very heavy.

Mims: Well, we know that Dr. Perritt did some radiology...

Corbett: Yes, he did.

Mims: ...over at Community. You knew him?

Corbett: Yes, yes, Olin...Olin Perritt. Okay, Dr. Barefoot invited a Dr. Browse who was a retired...

Mims: Right.

Corbett: Dr. Browse was retired from the Army and Dr. Perritt trained in radiology after World War II. He was a World War II pilot, and he came to Wilmington and joined the group. And then he became the senior partner and then they took in Dr. Joe James. The fact is, I was at Camp Lejeune. I was up there for Chief of Radiology for four years, and they...both groups invited me to join them back then, and because I had known Dr. Sinclair, and he needed someone else, because the other group had three, I joined him. And we had...we had a wonderful practice together.

Mims: Now, we know that Bullocks basically picked up and moved to Cape Fear in 1957.

Corbett: That's right.

Mims: Tell us a little bit about how that...how that worked.

Corbett: I guess probably...you knew that that was a TB sanatorium out there?

Mims: Yes, it was a second rendition of it, right? Because there was an earlier one out by the airport.

Corbett: Yes, yes, right.

Mims: And this was built like in the mid '40s or something.

Corbett: Yes, that's right.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: And it was way, way out in the country.

Mims: Right!

Corbett: I mean there was nothing...we used to think "Man that...how far it is out there, and there's nothing out there," and the main thing is that Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Mebane, and Dr. Sam Pace realized...Sam E. Pace, realized that they were getting too crowded down at the Bullock Hospital. And so they decided to move out this way. And the three of 'em got together and raised fifty thousand dollars and bought the then TB sanatorium, but it had already closed because everything was being shifted to McCain, which is where...that's beautiful up there, if you've ever been up toward that area. Beautiful country and it was so...air was so fresh and everything, it was sort of like being in the mountains, it was very hilly up there. So they pooled their money and, it's like Dr. Sinclair said, "You know, fifty thousand doesn't sound big today, you multiply that by at least ten times"...and that's what it was back then in perspective. And they bought it and then began renovating. But they also had a number of wonderful citizens here in Wilmington, you know, like Mr. Louie Woodbury who was one of the first chairmen's of the board of trustees. And then they...they did formally put it into a...like a trusteeship.

Mims: Right.

Corbett: And actually was owned up until recently by the Wilmington Presbytery. It was not privately owned. A lot of people thought it was...the fact is, when it was sold, somebody said, "Well how much is Dr. Sinclair getting?" I said, "Same thing you and I are, nothing."

Mims: I didn't realize that. So it was owned by...

Corbett: Cape Fear Memorial...it was trust by...that was underneath the Wilmington Presbytery.

Mims: Huh.

Parnell: I did not know that.

Corbett: I'm trying to think of who all was on that board. Well there was Dr. Frank B. Hall, was a professor here, you know...

Mims: Yep.

Corbett: ...in psychology...no, not psychology...

Mims: Philosophy and Religion.

Corbett: Yea, that's right. He...he was a wonderful man...

Mims: I had him!

Corbett: but all of those...did you really?

Mims: Yea, in my undergrad era, yea.

Corbett: Oh, well, good. All of those...they were just a really outstanding group of 'em...

Mims: Right.

Corbett: Oh, Mr. Fred Willetts was in there and of course Mr. Champion McDowell Davis, who was president of Coastline Railroad. And all of those men came in, not only to help that way, but they helped financially too. But they...they knew that it was not going into anyone's pocket. It was...it was...

Mims: Right...but it was still set up as a private hospital.

Corbett: It was Cape Fear Memorial Hospital Incorporated.

Mims: Incorporated, um hum. Now, when the bond was trying to get passed to build what is now New Hanover Hospital, do you recall how that affected them just moving out into this suburb type area...do you...?

Corbett: No, I was...I was away when that happened.

Mims: You were still on your Navy rotation.

Corbett: I...I...no, I was in med school at the time, cause I can remember that...oh you mean the...yea the bond after that...right...

Mims: Right. The '61 bond...

Corbett: ...that's right, because I was...in '57...yea...I graduated from med school in '57. And I can remember being called by my father in 1957 because he said they were raising money for Cape Fear. But when he called I had this uncle that I told you had had a brain hemorrhage and Matt...Dr. Matt Bulluck had treated him, and I thought he was calling to tell me my uncle had died.

Mims: Oh.

Corbett: But he wanted to know "Should we contribute to this?" And I said, "Yes by all means." And so that...that was '57. But yea, the next few years I was away and did not get into any of the...

Mims: The politics.

Corbett: ...the politics that went on with that.

Mims: Cause, um, that's a question, you know, because it seems like the niche that Cape Fear found itself...of course, you know, with the beach development and then now the development out that way, it put them in a good location. Once again Bulluck was good, and then when we moved out there...um, but just wondering how, you know, a super-hospital going up affected their...their status. I mean, they still kept their private type...

Corbett: Yes, yes. You know, I came back to Wilmington. I was, as I say, stationed up in Camp Lejeune in '61.

Mims: Right.

Corbett: So, you see, it was being completed then, and they invited all of us...Dr. Sinclair and I both were on the staff of the Radiology department at New Hanover.

Mims: Okay.

Corbett: But the main thing is, we both had enough to do where we were. We never ever competed with those others over there. And to be real frank, the only time we ever went over was when one of...some...some physician got out with the Radiology department and then they'd call us over to do their work, and I'd walk out the door, "Well I'll see ya'll next time," and that meant whenever somebody else was having a little setback...

Mims: Difficulty.

Corbett: ...with them, yea. But, we never had any...any problem at all. But as I say, we were both on staff.

Mims: Um hum. So no...no...

Corbett: And, the main thing is that, you know, it was good that they got that bond issue going and got the hospital. Because, I mean, especially when we think about it today...

Mims: Oh yea.

Corbett: ...but James Walker was so terribly obsolete and when Cape Fear opened, it was really quite nice. You know, that was considered "the thing", and yet you look at it now, and of course they've upgraded it as they've gone along, but in relation to all the things that they're putting in these hospitals now...a hospital room is just so elegant, you know.

Mims: Well that was...that's what I think I read in one of the books about it, is that it was set up like a...a spa almost.

Corbett: Um hum, um hum.

Mims: ...that they put emphasis, you know, on the rooms being very nicely arranged...the lobby...so it didn't have that "hospital like" tone.

Corbett: That's right.

Mims: So that...that...

Corbett: It was...it really was more homey and because your...your staff was pretty well known...in other words, I used to tell people "nobody can get away with anything around here because everybody knows everybody by first name!" I think about the orderlies and the floor cleaning people and all that, you knew every one of 'em by name.

Mims: And many of them came from Bullucks, right?

Corbett: Oh yes, yes. And as I mentioned, the...the cook, she came...

Mims: Marcella.

Corbett: ...out there...yea, Marcella, but poor Marcella developed cancer. But she was such as wonderful person. And then you had ones like Ms. Hadley, you know, who became the dietitian out there, Hadley, and she just died the year before last. But she put in wonderful meals there. In fact as Dr. Lucian Wilkins used to say, "The two best places to eat in town...one was...I'm trying to think what it was...the other was Cape Fear Hospital!" And Lucian is a connoisseur, so that was really pretty good! Do you know him at all?

Mims: No, I don't, no I don't think so.

Corbett: Yea. Lucian is more of an entrepreneur now. You know, the group that's trying to develop this medical complex up here near Scotts Hill?

Mims: Oh yea!

Corbett: Okay. That's...that's Lucian's deal, yea...

Mims: Okay. Is that connected with Wilmington Health, or...?

Corbett: No, I think it's independent.

Mims: Independent, okay.

Corbett: It's sort of...like, you know, the Surgicenter?

Mims: Right.

Corbett: It's gonna be on that concept, where...but it'll be...I'm surprised they wouldn't approve it, you know, I thought that would be a go. And talking to the administrator over at New Hanover, I thought he was...he was welcoming it, because they're so crowded over there, they need...they need some relief, you know.

Mims: Exactly.

Corbett: You know, they're talking about building a new one, and he said...do you know what...he said it would cost to build a new hospital? A million dollars a room! So, if you build a five hundred bed, which we ought to have more than that now...

Mims: Sure.

Corbett: ...it's gonna be five hundred million. And so, he said though, he told the board of trustees, if they would let him just take a floor at the time, that for about a million dollars, he could renovate a floor at the time.

Mims: Right.

Corbett: And I think that's, of course, the way we're gonna have to go.

Mims: And this is where he was trying to put in the private rooms...

Corbett: Yes, yes, changing the arrangement around.

Mims: I've had discussions with some of the other physicians in town, just, you know, talking about how the old set up with the wards and the care that they got, and how they...they went to the different rooms, and some kinda speculate that maybe the care was better in the ward situation. The visual contact that the nurses had...um, do you see that...you know...?

Corbett: I...I think in a way, I hadn't thought of it that way...I worked in a little hospital in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and they had wards with twenty rooms...twenty beds in a ward, you know...

Mims: Um hum.

Corbett: And I can seen what you're saying. Because the nurse could gaze out over all of it and of course they didn't have to have as many nurses for that many either. But I can remember how you...you lacked privacy. But each one had it where you could pull the curtains around. But if you had someone you really needed to take...you could take them to sort of a...an examining room or a treatment room, or something like that for the privacy. But more of the wards were left at James Walker weren't that large, except some of the black wards were...were large. But also, it's like in the military, a lot of those people looked after each other, they helped each other, you know. When a patient was able to get up and do, he would help the other one that couldn't do, rather than the nurse having to go bring water and all of that, the patient next to...the next bed would bring it, you know, and that sort of thing. So there are advantages to each way, you know. I think we've all gotten more private like, as we've gotten older.

Mims: Sure. Well, um, we really appreciated that nurse advocacy board meeting that we talked about.

Corbett: Boy did we ever! Ya'll did a wonderful job, I'm telling you, we just thoroughly enjoyed it.

Mims: Well...um...the focus that Dr. Adams is bring forward about, that they're so short handed with nurse educators...what is your take on that?

Corbett: This is serious business. And I'll tell you something, we'll be coming out, but I set up...I had already set up a charitable remainder trust for the nursing school. But I set up a charity lead trust to endow the...the sch...the faculty.

Mims: Um hum.

Corbett: Because, you know, if you can't keep your faculty, and to keep what good ones we have, we're not going to have a nursing school. My main thing is, I'm trying so desperately to get other people in Wilmington to leave their money here. You know, a lot of 'em send their money to places that have so much money already and this is where we live, and some of these nurses are the ones that are working in our offices. And...and I think about PPD. Dr. Eshelman is now, I hope, beginning to see that he can leave some of this money here, because he's getting so many of the nurses going to his program, and you might as well say they're out of nursing, they're in research more.

Mims: Um hum. But there is a track...a under...a graduate track about research nursing, here in Wilmington. And that would feed directly into what his needs are.

Corbett: Yes, yes.

Mims: Again, going back to the ultimate mission of the University to supply the needs of the community.

Corbett: Um hum. Yea, um hum.

Mims: So...but yet we've got to have the funds coming in to do that. Um, Jerry, can you think of anything we...

Parnell: ...we've got about five minutes.

Corbett: Okay.

Mims: Just in reflection on your career, would you go into radiology again?

Corbett: You know, a lot of people ask...I don't know anything I have enjoyed any more than this. And I...I told a student yesterday...I retired in June of 1990, and went back to work in September of 1990. I realized that was not for me, talking about flunking retirement, I really did! But I really enjoy...I enjoyed hospital practice, that was where all of mine was until...this group that I'm with, the New Hanover Medical Group, asked me to design a radiology department. And that's how I got hooked up with them. That's when...I did it between June and September. And just before they got ready to open, they said they were gonna need somebody to over read their films, you know, just to check on what they...and I said, "I'm your man!" So,...but they had no idea that it would grow as much as it has. And, you see, we have three offices. Now, I thoroughly enjoy it. I look forward to going every day. And one of the things, when you're talking about...a lot of times radiologist is behind the scenes and nobody sees him.

But I've always had an open door policy and patients, if they want to, may come in and talk to me, or see their X-rays and this sort of thing. The fact is, Ray Richardson, who is the manager out at Cape Fear Ford stopped me at Lowe's the other day and said "Do you mind if I ask you a question?" I said, "No." He said, "You know, my wife's got this problem...," and I said, "Okay."

And so, after we talked a little while, I said, "You know, I'll have to tell you one about this fellow George Garrett..." He came in the other day with an X-ray that was that tall and about that wide. I said "George, what is this?" He said "It's a dental X-ray of my big toe." And he said "something's wrong with my big toe." I said, "George, you're right, there is something wrong," but he...I said, "we need to get a real X-ray here! This is not..." A dental film of a...a toe!

Mims: How on earth?

Corbett: And, bless his heart, he had severe gout! Well I sent him around to the doctor to put him on some colchicine, and things like that. And then he came back later, and he said, "Don't you hate it when people come in and bug you like..." I said "No, it's the greatest compliment in the world." And that's what I told Ray. I said "It's the greatest compliment in the world, but I'll have to tell you like this, there was a doctor at a cocktail party and he had three people to ask him questions, and a lawyer came up there after a while and he said 'would it be legal and legitimate to send them a bill for this service?' and the lawyer said 'absolutely'. And so three days later the doctor got a bill from the lawyer for professional services rendered". I told Ray, I said, "Turnabout's fair play!" I said, "No, there's no way I...I take it as the greatest compliment in the world"...people at a party...or at the grocery store...want to stop and ask you a thing...it's...it's a joy.

Mims: One quick minute...you said that you were one of the first to bring nuclear medicine into Wilmington and we want to address that.

Corbett: Yes.

Mims: Can you tell us real quick how that came about...was it getting the equipment first, or you had to have the training first, or...?

Corbett: You...first...well you have to get certification. That's the biggest thing, you know, nuclear regulatory commission keeps the records of all of this and you have to be approved to do it, and know what you're going to do. That is, know how to do these things. And then you have to know what your...like if we're talking about, say like, thyroid, you have to know that you need a certain type of...of radionuclide and how do you tag it to make it go to the thyroid. And then you...you order these things and show that you've been certified, and they send it to you. You don't have to keep it on hand. And they send it in...we used to call them pigs, little...little lead pigs. A lot of people use those things to make a lot of sinkers and things like that for...

Mims: Oh yea.

Corbett: ...for the boats and things like that, because you got a lot of lead, I mean a lot of lead. And then we had a shield thing where you could work to put this around. But different things are tagged by different stuff, you know. Strontium 90 was the one that was most popular because you could tag it with so many things to go to the lungs, to go to the brain, to go to the thyroid, and all that sort of thing.

Mims: Was this equipment at Cape Fear Hospital?

Corbett: Yes, Cape Fear. And New...at the same time, James Walker got a scanner too. They were called dot scanners.

Mims: Dot scanners?

Corbett: Dot scanners, um hum. But I wish you could have seen one back then and then see one today, because oh man, they're so different. But the greatest thing almost of all coming along is...is ultrasound. Ultrasound, you know, is just using sound waves and it's...it's almost like being inside.

Mims: Very interesting.

Corbett: It's fascinating.

Mims: I think were about...

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