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Interview with Samuel Warshauer, January 31, 2005 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Title:
Interview with Samuel Warshauer, January 31, 2005
Date:
January 31, 2005
Description:
Dr. Sam Warshauer describes his expereinces in Wilmington as a young cardiologist. He began his practice in the Murchison Building in downtown Wilmington and worked at James Walker, Community, Cape Fear, and New Hanover Regional hospitals. Dr. Warshauer explains how medical technology grew durning the years that he practice from 1945 to the late 1980s. He remembers how he with a few other doctors from James Walker hospital learned to use the first defibrillator in Wilmington.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Warshauer, Sam Interviewer: Mims, LuAnn / Parnell, Jerry Date of Interview: 1/31/2005 Series: Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length 60

Interviewer 1: Today is January 31st, 2005. I am LuAnn Mims with Jerry Parnell with the Randall Library series on Health Services of Southeastern North Carolina. Today we are very privileged to be able to speak with a physician from the Wilmington area by the name of Dr. Sam Warshauer. Good morning to you sir. Thank you so much for allowing us to talk to you this morning. We would like to start with your personal family background...where you were born and raised and what your family was doing.

Warshauer: I was born in Wilmington, January the 24th, 1914 on the corner of Front and Castle Street. There was a small hospital there called Dr. Harper's Sanatorium and we lived...we lived on Fourth Street near Castle but we soon moved to Sixth and Nun where my father built a two story house. We occupied the upper story and they rented out the lower story. We stayed there at Sixth and Nun a number of years. I started school at the Union School, which was situated on Sixth and Ann. It was a wooden building and it was an old school, I think my mother went there too because she too was born in Wilmington in 1895.

Interviewer 1: What was her name?

Warshauer: Clara...Clara Goldstein. She was a very young woman, only nineteen years old when I was born. And she carried me to that school which was one block from our house and I went to that school for two or three years until we moved to a house on Market Street, then I went to the Isaac Bear School.

Interviewer 1: Oh.

Warshauer: Which only went to the fifth grade. And then the students there transferred to Hemenway finish the elementary school education. And the eighth grade was in the high school building, which was relatively new. I think the high school building was built...New Hanover High School was built probably in 1922 or 3...because when I went to the Union School that was in 1919. I was gonna be six years old in January, so I only...I started before my sixth year. At that time the high school was where the Tileston School is.

Interviewer 1: Uh huh, okay.

Warshauer: And so the high school...I went there the eighth grade, and I must have been a little, I wouldn't say smart, but I skipped the second grade, and when I went to high school, I skipped another grade. So I finished high school in 1929 and I was only fifteen years old. And so I went the University of North Carolina and I skipped another grade there, and I finished there in 1932. I was eighteen year old.

Interviewer 1: My goodness!

Warshauer: So I went to medical school at the Medical College of Virginia at...from '32 to '36 in Richmond, Virginia. My second year in medical school...one takes up Pathology that year, and I came back to Wilmington the summer between the second and third years and worked in the hospital...James Walker Hospital. I got to know all the doctors and the work I did was in the Pathology laboratory. I finished the second year Pathology course in medical school. The Pathologist was Dr. Graham Barefoot. Dr. Barefoot had an electrocardiograph machine and he had an office downtown in Wilmington, and he...he was very friendly with the doctors, particularly the surgeons, and they would refer him patients...cardiac...patients that needed a cardiac examination, and he would do that. And he apparently had plenty of time on his hands, because he also served as a Radiologist, he read the X-rays and he was a Pathologist, he did the autopsies and he...and he had a private practice...not very large.

Interviewer 1: Now this is before the days before there were cardiac specialists, right?

Warshauer: You couldn't hardly presume to be a Cardiologist then, because the people would think you were just putting on airs. (laughing) And the X-ray department of the James Walker Hospital was, I guess, leased out to a Mrs...whatever her name was...

Interviewer 1: Caldwell.

Warshauer: Caldwell. The widow of a doctor. She went to somewhere and studied a month or two and became a...bought an X-ray machine, and when one wanted to get an X-ray for an outpatient you had to talk to Mrs. Caldwell, particularly if the patient didn't have any money, so she might do it free. Dr. Barefoot would read the X-ray; they would charge five dollars for a chest X-ray.

Interviewer 1: We know a little bit about her because she was one of the first graduates of the James Walker nursing school. Her maiden name was Hayes.

Warshauer: Well her...she married Dr. Caldwell...now this Sanatorium on Front and Castle Street...

Interviewer 1: Harper's...uh huh.

Warshauer: Harper's Sanatorium...several of the doctors that worked there went fishing in Brunswick County and went hunting and they were in a boat and...and they drowned. Three doctors, I think, drowned. And that caused the hospital down there to close up.

Interviewer 1: The Harper's Sanatorium to close up?

Warshauer: Yea, um hum.

Interviewer 1: Hum.

Warshauer: I have a newspaper clipping when this building was demolished. And it says in there that...what's the name...I can show you that, I have it upstairs.

Interviewer 1: That would be interesting. We don't know that much about Harper's Sanatorium, so that would be very interesting. What...what kind of work was your father doing?

Warshauer: My father was a merchant. He had a store on the corner of Front and Dock. He had a retail dry goods store for a number of years and then later he abandoned that and went and just did wholesale dry goods.

Interviewer 1: What was his first name?

Warshauer: Max. He came to Wilmington from San Francisco when the earthquake took...in 1906...he lost his job and lost everything and the Red Cross people would give the victims of the earthquake transportation to anywhere they wanted to go, and he knew some people in Wilmington, so he said, "I'd like to go to Wilmington." And so he got on a train and came to Wilmington and met his friends here and my mother, and my mother's father, and he liked my mother...she was just a young girl. He waited until she got old enough and married her.

Interviewer 1: That's incredible! If you think about that, he came to Wilmington by earthquake...um...well, back to your...ah...your medical training...you finished at the Medical College of Virginia...

Warshauer: 1936.

Interviewer 1: 1936.

Warshauer: I came here for one year...'36...July '36 to July 3'7 and I worked as a rotating intern.

Interviewer 1: Okay.

Warshauer: And I got to know all the doctors very well. Dr. Charles Graham was a resident surgeon that year. Dr. Graham had had three or four years training prior to that, so he was a well-trained doctor and it was my first year. My second year I went to...went back to Richmond and took a straight medical internship. Third year I went to a place in West Virginia, worked in a hospital, and the fourth year I went to University of Pennsylvania, graduate school of medicine for a course in internal medicine including cardiology and diabetes, and...and neurology, various subspecialties. And then after coming back to Wilmington in 1940, the war was going on and I had gotten a commission as a first lieutenant in the Army Reserve when I graduated medical school...they gave 'em away free. (laughing) Required no training, but the government had abandoned the Army Reserves for...during the depression. They didn't peruse it, then they figured they needed a medical reserve so they got doctors to sign up for it. Well I signed up for it. I knew nothing about the Army, and...but they had my name and I started getting messages from 'em wanting me to go on active duty and finally I got a telegram saying, "Go on active duty now or later, if you want to go later, you gotta have a good reason," and I didn't have a good reason. Matter of fact, I was kind of glad to go because I wasn't making any money.

Interviewer 1: Well when you returned to Wilmington, did you start...establish a practice?

Warshauer: Yes, in the summer of 1940. I stayed here until November. Then I went in the Army and I stayed there five years. Australia, New Guinea, and all that. And I came back here in '45 and been here ever since.

Interviewer 1: Well, when you were in the medical reserve, though, you worked as a physician.

Warshauer: Yea. I was a doctor.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: I was very lucky. You see I had four years of training, which was a step above most of the people that went in at the same time. So my going to school, being young, worked to my advantage then and I got to be a captain within three months, and I subsequently got to be a major and got to be chief of a medical service of a big hospital and had a good time the whole time. When I got out I made...made me lieutenant colonel.

Interviewer 1: My goodness!

Warshauer: And so I found out that if I took some correspondence courses I could get credit for reserve work and if you did that and got twenty years credit, when you got to be sixty years old you could get retirement pay. So when I was sixty I started getting retirement pay as a lieutenant colonel and that's been thirty years!

Interviewer 1: Oh my gosh!

Warshauer: Isn't that amazing?

Interviewer 1: Sounds like a good deal. You weren't in the European Theater at all?

Warshauer: No, I was always in the Pacific.

Interviewer 1: Pacific, okay. Were you assigned to a certain place, or to a ship, or...?

Warshauer: Ah...we se...first year was at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. I was assigned to a hospital there at this camp, and they...when the war came on, they set up a two hundred and fifty bed station hospital and I was assigned to that...that's the time I got married...just before I went overseas. And the commanding officer of this hospital was a Lieutenant Colonel Wilkinson. He's the father of Dr. Wilkinson who was a surgeon here and retired. Mrs. Wilkinson had four...three...three boys, I think...little kids. All of 'em became doctors later, and my wife of about two days...and she...and other wives, several others, went from Camp Clayborn, or something like that, in Louisiana, to San Francisco on a train...we went on a troop train...we stayed there ten days and then we went to Australia.

Interviewer 1: My goodness. And then you returned in 1945 after the war is...

Warshauer: Yea, I started practicing in Wilmington in '45, had an office in the Murchison Building. Where every...most of the doctors had offices, in the Murchison Building.

Interviewer 1: Dr. Williams was explaining to us about the board certification process that came up, that...

Warshauer: Well the American Board of Internal Medicine was started, I think in about '36...

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...and I figured that would be a good thing to do, and I took the written examination...they sent it to...to Port Moresby, New Guinea, and I sat in the colonel's tent and answered the questions and sent 'em back. And they said I passed. But then they said, "You have to take an oral examination and there's nobody to give it to you out there, when you get back you can...we'll give it to you." So I went down to New Orleans when I got back and I took that, and I passed that.

Interviewer 1: So when you started your practice, what...were you just a general...?

Warshauer: No, I did...was internal medicine that was considered a specialty. It was the same as pediatrics, except it treated grown people.

Interviewer 1: Okay.

Warshauer: Pediatrics did children, internal medicine did grown people, and...we didn't do any surgery and didn't do any obstetrics, which a general practitioner would do.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...minor surgery, I guess.

Interviewer 1: Um...Dr. Williams also noted that, um, early medical society meetings of Wilmington, everybody...all of the physicians could sit around one table.

Warshauer: Almost...there was only about thirty-five doctors.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: They would have a medical meeting...usually at the Cape Fear Club downtown. They made me the secretary the first year I got back...secretary and treasurer, both. And I would go around and collect the dues from 'em every meeting. I think it was about five bucks...and take the money and buy whiskey with it. (laughing)

Interviewer 1: Well I know you guys did other things, because we've talked to some of the nurses that were recipients of some of the, I guess scholarship money, or there was a contest or something that the Medical Association sponsored here and some of the nurses talked about...

Warshauer: They might have supplemented that, I...I don't know, I don't remember exactly.

Interviewer 1: Like I said, you probably don't recall some of the...

Warshauer: Well, the Medical Society sponsors a scholarship at the college now for pre-medical students.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Well let's talk briefly about what you know about the diploma school at James Walker. You were a little bit involved with that?

Warshauer: Well, I...I taught while I was an intern...they asked me to teach 'em. I don't...I don't think I taught when I was sophomore student though.

Interviewer 1: Okay. And these classes were held in the basement...

Warshauer: In that nurses building. They had a classroom there. The building still stands, you know.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: It...it was a way to get cheap help too. They worked these girls hard, paid 'em practically nothing, and they...but...but when they'd been there three years, they gave 'em a white uniform and they made a little money, not much...

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...but comparatively speaking, most of 'em got married and after a little while quit nursing. So there was a constant supply, you know.

Interviewer 1: Um, I have seen your name come up on several occasions in connection with the Community Hospital.

Warshauer: Yea, I...I worked in the Community Hospital. There were four colored doctors, and two or three white doctors worked there, and I was on the staff there until it closed. Ah, they did a pretty good job, I thought. They...I think the US Government, the WPA, in about...in the thirties, gave 'em money to build this building.

Interviewer 1: Um hum, right their new facility.

Warshauer: And it was on...I believe it was on...Eighth Street or somewhere.

Interviewer 1: Yea. Cause it used to be down on Seventh and Red Cross.

Warshauer: That was a little wooden private building, that didn't amount to anything.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: You see the colored doctors...they didn't let 'em practice in James Walker, and so they had to do something to find a place to practice. And James Walker had a building for colored people, and it...it really wasn't a very high quality building, but the patients got pretty high quality care.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: We cared for 'em really good no matter if they were colored or white, but they didn't have a good place to be...only had two private rooms and one big ward, or two wards, one women and one men. They also had a small building called the Bear Building for communicable diseases. When I was an intern there we had a lot of meningitis patients.

Interviewer 1: Um.

Warshauer: And I...nobody wanted to treat 'em...I did. And that was the year that sulfanilamide came out...that was the first chemical that could attack bacteria. It preceded penicillin, and you could take thirty-five cents worth of sulfanilamide and cure meningitis with it. Where we used to inject a serum in the spinal canal and that cost five dollars a shot. And I remember going to the board and telling 'em we got this new drug and then we could just give it to 'em. I read an article in AMA Journal that year, a man reported ten cases he treated with it and they all got well quick, and all my patients got well with it.

Interviewer 1: That's incredible!

Warshauer: It was a dramatic thing.

Interviewer 1: ...to think about the development of these drugs.

Warshauer: Sulfanilamide would cure meningitis, it cured gonorrhea, it cured eurosyphilis, streptococcus, the bacteria very susceptible to this particular drug...we soon got resistant to it. It didn't cure pneumonia but they made another one called sulfadiazine, which would cure pneumonia. I mean you give 'em two or three tablets and they'd get well.

Interviewer 1: So a very effective tool as a physician to have this.

Warshauer: Yea, it was the first thing that we had that could do anything about it.

Interviewer 1: I mean prior to that, how would you treat these illnesses?

Warshauer: Just hope for the best, and the patient didn't expect to get well, and the mother...and the parents...the family didn't either, so they never sued the doctor. If they got well it was a miracle, and if they didn't get well, it was the Lord's work.

Interviewer 1: How about like the old timey, like mustard plasters, would you ever...?

Warshauer: Yea, well that...that was a...made patients a little more comfortable, I think...

Interviewer 1: Uh huh.

Warshauer: At least they thought it did. Other than that ... primitive medicine in the nineteenth century...they bled people, because they thought their blood was bad.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: And if they take out some of that bad blood, they ought to get better. Of course they got worse. Then the next thing came along with the intestinal tract...look at all that nasty stuff inside of you, you could see it come out...

Interviewer 1: Yea.

Warshauer: ...it couldn't be good for you. So they'd give 'em laxatives and they'd give 'em enemas to clean 'em out. It didn't do a damn thing. (laughing)

Interviewer 1: Wasn't there a plant here in town that dealt with like a turpentine...

Warshauer: Yea. That...that was a...that was pretty good stuff. It was...it killed germs.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...also it was good for cough medicine too I think.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Astyptodyne or what was...?

Warshauer: Yea, Astyptodyne. That...that was a trade name...I forget the name people...

Interviewer 1: Yea, I can't...can't think of it either, but I know that some of it was produced here in town.

Warshauer: Yea.

Interviewer 1: So, big changes while...while you were...

Warshauer: Well the doctor would use anything he could get a hold of that they thought might help people. Plants...every plant you know, was tested to see if it was any good, and I got a hold of an old medical text book from around the 1840's and it gave list of all the different plants. And I remember an old lady from Brunswick County told me what plants she took, I could look 'em up in this old book and there it was. They had a botanical name...

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: Of course there were some...two plants that came...from which good medicines were derived...quinine came from the cinchona bark of a tree and digitalis came from the leaf of a foxglove which was good for certain types of heart disease and opium, of course is a plant. We used to give strychnine, you know it's a poison...they thought it stimulated you in very small doses. It was no good for anything. We had a medicine called IQNS...iron, quinine, and strychnine. You couldn't go wrong with one or the other!

Interviewer 1: You...you're talking about stuff that we have touched upon with Thomas Fanning Woods. There was a physician in town...Dr. Woods, that...

Warshauer: Wood.

Interviewer 1: Thomas Fanning Wood. He looked at herbal base medicine.

Warshauer: Well doc...Dr. Wood was a...well he was really a great doctor. One of the Wood was a...was a Public Health doctor.

Interviewer 1: That's his son...that's his son.

Interviewer 2: Dr. Thomas Fanning Wood was Public Health and his son Edward Wood...

Warshauer: Edward Jenner Wood.

Interviewer 2: Jenner Wood...

Interviewer 1: Yea.

Interviewer 2: Edward Jenner Wood, yes.

Warshauer: He was named after Edward Jenner, the man that discovered small pox vaccine.

Interviewer 1: Right, that's right.

Warshauer: And he was a very smart person, and he had a lot of writings, I mean, he was very educated.

Interviewer 2: Um hum...he...with sprue and ...

Interviewer 1: Right.

Interviewer 2: He worked with those diseases.

Interviewer 1: Well it's very interesting to...to listen to this. We have listened to some transcripts that Dr. Fales talks about old time medicine. Do you recall Dr. Fales at all?

Warshauer: Oh yea, I knew him very well.

Interviewer 1: Uh huh.

Warshauer: When I started in '36 he was one of the young surgeons in town. He did some operating with Dr. Koonce and Dr. Evans, and of course, Dr. Hooper, and his son...his father was the late Dr. Hooper.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: He was the best surgeon in Wilmington. And there was Dr. Robertson, another surgeon. There was Codington...Codington had a...two sons that were doctors. One of 'em was a politician.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: And another son was a missionary doctor in Asia.

Interviewer 1: Now did you have a brother that was also like a doctor?

Warshauer: Yea, my brother was a...was an anesthesiologist. He...he worked here for a little while.

Interviewer 1: What...what was his name?

Warshauer: Albert. He ended up working in Greenville at the medical school there. Then he retired and lived here until he died.

Interviewer 1: Is he older or younger than you?

Warshauer: Younger.

Interviewer 1: Did anybody else in your family go into medicine?

Warshauer: Not older than me or contemporary but my...my brother Albert has a son who's a doctor in Chapel Hill. He's a radiologist. And he's got...his other...his other children are not in medicine.

Interviewer 1: And did...did you have a son in medicine?

Warshauer: He?

Interviewer 1: You.

Warshauer: Me? No.

Interviewer 1: No?

Warshauer: I have a nephew.

Interviewer 1: Nephew, okay.

Warshauer: That's right, Leo. Leo and David, two of his sons became doctors.

Interviewer 1: Because I thought there was another Dr. Warshauer here in Wilmington.

Warshauer: That's Leo.

Interviewer 1: That's Leo? Okay. And he's your nephew. Do you remember anything about Bulluck's Hospital?

Warshauer: Yea I do.

Interviewer 1: Did you ever work down there?

Warshauer: I gave anesthesia to patients...to Dr. Bulluck's patients. Dr. Mebane worked there. They...they were in competition with James Walker. I don't think Dr. Bulluck got along with some of the doctors at James Walker so he set up his own hospital. And the hospital he worked in when I started practice was on Front Street right above the Fleischmann Clothing Store, and I would give anesthesia...he'd give me five dollars. That supplemented my income. I'd give anesthesia to Bulluck's surgical patients...we'd pour ether on 'em...masks...and there was a Dr. Koonce, an old Dr. Koonce...

Interviewer 1: Not Donald?

Warshauer: Not Donald, his father. His father's name, I think was S. E. Koonce...the same initials I have.

Interviewer 1: Okay.

Warshauer: He had an office on the second floor of the Murchison Building, the same one I was on. I might have been the third, and he was the second, but he was right near me. And he did tonsils in that office...tonsillectomy. And I'd go there and...and give anesthesia to these...usually a child...and he'd take out their tonsils. It was a nerve-racking experience. He...he was an old man and he had a little tremor.

Interviewer 1: Oh God...

Warshauer: And I would watch him do that...taking out that tonsil and his hands would be shaking. He never got...he did it all right though. He told me one...one summer he went to Burgaw and took out all the tonsils of the second grade. (laughing)

Interviewer 1: Preventative medicine there!

Warshauer: And also Dr. Crouch was a...

Interviewer 1: Auley Crouch?

Warshauer: Auley Crouch, the old man.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: He had an office on Fifth Street and he took out tonsils, and his wife was a dominating woman, and she would sit there and collect the money. When he got through, he'd say, "Give the doctor five dollars," and I would pocket it and go my way.

Interviewer 1: Goodness, so you were just everywhere.

Warshauer: Well that was just for a year or two.

Interviewer 1: Well...ah...we're trying to figure out some stuff about Bullucks. One of the things that we have read about is that they had a school of nursing there for a brief period of time.

Warshauer: I don't remember anything about that.

Interviewer 1: Okay. It was a very small hospital, wasn't it?

Warshauer: Yea, it...not over thirty, forty beds...maybe not that big.

Interviewer 1: Where...

Warshauer: I never had a patient in the hospital there.

Interviewer 1: Um...well, did they offer alternative services or was...you know, was like...did they deliver babies there?

Warshauer: I don't know, I doubt it.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. But they did surgery.

Warshauer: I think they just did mostly surgery for Dr. Bulluck and Dr. Mebane.

Interviewer 1: Okay.

Warshauer: Dr. Mebane's father was a doctor here.

Interviewer 1: Okay.

Warshauer: And I didn't know him, he died I think, before I came. Mebane was a very nice guy. He was very religious man. Before he would operate on a patient he'd say a prayer with 'em and they liked that.

Interviewer 1: Dr. Sinclair also joined over at Bullucks for a while.

Warshauer: Since Sinclair got associated with Mebane, they were good friends. And Sinclair was a man of...a lot of things, I mean, he was...did X-ray...ended up doing mostly X-ray work but he also did some operations.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Yea, we had an opportunity to speak with him also. His story is pretty interesting.

Warshauer: He's a nice fella.

Interviewer 1: So, we have James Walker, Community, and Bulluck's in town and you kind of have touched on all of those. Um...Bulluck eventually moved out to its location where Cape Fear is...

Warshauer: Yea. You see, they had a TB hospital here. For years they had a tuberculosis sanatorium because that was where tuberculosis was treated. They isolated 'em and put 'em in a separate place. And after the war they built the brick building at the present location of the Cape Fear Hospital...

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: And after a few years, they got to...got so they could cure tuberculosis with an antibiotic and the disease kind of disappeared...and they didn't need the hospital anymore for TB. So Mebane bought it and made it...called it Cape Fear Hospital, and he expanded it. The...the doctor that ran the hospital was ah...oh hell, I can't think of names now...

Interviewer 1: We can look it up.

Warshauer: ...his son is a lawyer...grandson is a lawyer.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Um...you know, I know that when the bond referendum came around because the community needed a different facility besides James Walker, yet Cape Fear was already in play here...did they not...did Cape Fear...or, you know, did that group not work well with James Walker, or...?

Warshauer: They competed.

Interviewer 1: It was competitive.

Warshauer: Yea.

Interviewer 1: It was considered more of a private hospital?

Warshauer: It was a private hospital and they...they didn't take many charity patients.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...and the doctors that treated charity patients at New Hanover...at...at James Walker kind of resented that. And the surgeons in particular were competitive.

Interviewer 1: Did you ever go out to Cape Fear?

Warshauer: Yea. I did for a while, then it go so it was too burdensome to go to one hospital and then the other. So it didn't pay me to go there and see one patient or two, when I could see five or six at the other hospital. So I decided I just didn't go there anymore. But it...it was amicable, I didn't go there because I didn't like 'em, I just quit because it wasn't convenient.

Interviewer 1: I didn't know if it had anything to do with the integration issue. Can't find out whether Blacks were allowed in as patients at Bulluck's or not, and...

Warshauer: I don't believe they treated any Black people at Bulluck's. I know darn well they didn't.

Interviewer 1: Yea...

Warshauer: ...nor at the Cape Fear either.

Interviewer 1: Well, that's what we're...we're hearing, yet they...

Warshauer: ...they thought they did...they...I believe Mebane might have worked in...in the colored hospital.

Interviewer 1: Um hum, he did.

Warshauer: ...in Community...but he didn't put 'em in his hospital. Well, it was a segregated world.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: You had a segregated waiting room...not because you wanted to have it, because the patients wouldn't want to mingle with 'em.

Interviewer 1: It was a society based...

Warshauer: Yea. When I had...I built an office after I...in 1952, I moved from downtown to a building on Tenth Street across from the James Walker Hospital, and I had a room that was for colored patients, but I didn't say what it was. I just let 'em sit there and if one sit by mistake in the other room, I didn't say anything to 'em.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. It's crazy to think back about all this. We have had a couple of African American nurses speak that they were allowed to see surgery at Bulluck's, where they weren't allowed to do that at James Walker, so...it must have been Dr. Mebane's, you know, openness to allow that kind of stuff, where as that would have never gone over at James Walker.

Warshauer: You mean be nurses there?

Interviewer 1: No to...like in training, like...

Interviewer 2: Just to observe.

Interviewer 1: ...observe like surgeries and that kind of stuff, so...uh.

Warshauer: Well, most of the doctors that I knew were very free with their time to treat Black people. They didn't hold back on their treatment, they treated 'em as well as they possibly could. And...it was unheard of to treat 'em badly.

Interviewer 1: Were you ever involved with Babies Hospital?

Warshauer: No, not...not Babies Hospital. I might have gone there once, don't know why, other than...that was run as a private hospital by Dr. Sidbury. He was a commanding officer. (laughing)

Interviewer 2: I haven't heard it put that way before!

Interviewer 1: Did you ever go to any of the surrounding communities?

Warshauer: Yea, I did. I...I was called as a consultant...I would go to...I've gone to Whiteville two or three times, I went to Jacksonville. My most famous patient was one I just saw one time, Chesty Puller, the Marine Corps General who got so many ribbons they called him "Chesty"...and he was a...he rode for the Marine Corps. Well his aide called me up one morning and he said could I see him. So I arranged to see him on a Sunday morning and they came to the office. He'd had a little stroke, and he was scared they were gonna kick him out of the Marine Corps, or retire him. He said, "All my life I've...reached this point, and now they might get rid of me...so I can't work" Well I kind of reassured him and he did work for a number of years afterwards.

Interviewer 1: So um...we also know that as a physician you contributed a lot to the development of...of the hospital...the input that you had. Did this play out when they build New Hanover Hospital? Were you involved with it then?

Warshauer: Yea, I...I went to...we moved over there...I was the Chief of Medical Service there for a while. I was the Chief of the Staff for a while. The chief of the medical staff was ex-officio a member of the board.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...ah...and he...he was there...I think when he was the president elect and then he was actually president for two years, on the board.

Interviewer 1: So this was a time when you...you're input counts a lot because you're in this body that was making the...

Warshauer: No I would just listen to 'em.

Interviewer 1: You'd just listen to 'em?

Warshauer: Ah...somebody told me that the...that the doctor who served as the...on that board gets paid for it now.

Interviewer 1: Really?

Warshauer: A lot, I think.

Interviewer 1: I thought it was...

Warshauer: Well it takes up a lot of his time.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Hum.

Warshauer: We never got paid for anything.

Interviewer 1: What about the New Hanover Hospital being built? Did you think that was a good idea, bad idea, where were you on that?

Warshauer: Of course it was.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: It was hard times...it was very difficult to persuade the...the...elect to fund it. When they finally did fund it, they paid for the construction but they wouldn't pay for any treatment of patients in it. James Walker Hospital was a private hospital, and the county gave them money every year to treat patients who didn't have any money, indigent patients. And that was part of their income. When we went over to James Walker I think they might have given some money for that initially, but they didn't appropriate any really in the bond issue, but the hospital managed to make out without it.

Interviewer 1: Certainly getting New Hanover here helped, you know, the...the medical to get better...improved, because it was really limited with the James Walker facility.

Warshauer: Well, it...you can see how it's grown. Its expanded, you can't even find your way around it.

Interviewer 1: It's complex.

Warshauer: ...and when you get in it you gotta walk two miles to get from one place to the other.

Interviewer 1: Uh huh. Do you remember any female doctors in Wilmington...early on?

Warshauer: Dr. Sid...Dr. Sidbury had a daughter.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...did Pediatrics with him.

Interviewer 1: Rowena Hall.

Warshauer: Rowena. I can't think of any female doctors until modern times.

Interviewer 1: I...whenever that wall that's at the hospital was done, they put a name out of Ann Smith as being the first female doctor in Wilmington, but I can't find anybody to talk about knowing...

Warshauer: I didn't know any Ann Smith.

Interviewer 1: But Rowena Hall's name comes up quite frequently. Um...

Warshauer: She didn't stay here very long.

Interviewer 1: No, she moved away. What other community involvement did you do? I mean your time is certainly split between all of these different facilities and your patients...did you have any other, um...where you involved with any other community organizations?

Warshauer: In the Rotary Club.

Interviewer 1: Rotary?

Warshauer: I'm now the second oldest man in the Rotary Club. Ah...

Interviewer 1: And I'm sure you're...you're asked all...

Warshauer: We...we...I helped organize the North Carolina Society of Internal Medicine. I was president in 1962. I got to know every doctor doing internal medicine in North Carolina. It started in Charlotte and we branched out to Wilmington. Internal Medicine was confusing to people, they didn't know whether...between an internist and intern...and they tried to make it well known that the American College of Physicians, which was a...a...what do you call it?...ah...it was a society of doctors that had to be nominated to get in, they had to have certain qualifications.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Set standards...

Warshauer: Yea...I became a Fellow of that. And then they organized the American College of Cardiology and I...they wanted...I was offered to be a charter member, but I didn't do it because I just thought that'd be wasted money. And finally I got in it...became a Fellow there...they call it ACP...AC.American College of Physicians.

Interviewer 1: You certainly have a lot going on here. We have been told on several occasions that you were very involved with new technology as far as cardiac...

Warshauer: Yea.

Interviewer 1: Could you explain that to us?

Warshauer: They has this, you know, this defibrillator. Patients would come in with a very rapid heart rate and you couldn't do much for it...very bad for 'em...the heart would soon weaken. And somebody invented a machine that would give 'em electric shock. It would make their heart go back to normal. The first machine used direct current, which was not very good. Then the later one...we had one...I mean, use alternating current...and the direct current was better. And I talked the hospital management into buying one and...because I said, "Look a here, you guys might get a heart attack." (laughing) They bought it and then they...then they used it for changing auricular fibrillation. That's where the heart beats real fast and this machine would convert that to a sinus rhythm. And we had to learn how to use it, so three or four of us went to Duke...Tidler, and Marshburn, they're the only survivors, there was Pigford, and Pickard, who now have died. We all went to Durham and we watched them do it. And we came back, and they were kind of scared to do it. I had a patient that had it and I did him...I shocked him...came back to normal. This guy, about every other Saturday he would come to the office...he have his...heart was beating real fast, and I'd take him over there and buzz him and let him go. (laughing)

Interviewer 2: Your regular Saturday morning buzz!

Interviewer 1: Well was there an ICU at James Walker at the time, or...was...did this happen at James Walker or New Hanover Hospital?

Warshauer: It started off at James Walker. They had a room to treat really sick patients...it...it required specialized nursing...more...more intensive nursing. That's why they call...intensive care. And they would do some post operative patients or very sick heart patient...they put 'em this intensive care unit rather than just on an open ward. Now these open wards which we had a James Walker and also had...military hospitals had open wards...were not bad at all, because the patient was there and people could see 'em. And if they fell out of bed, they'd know it. And if they needed attention they could...the nurse would be at the end of the room and they could holler and she'd come and see 'em. And...or two or three nurses would come if they needed 'em. Where they put 'em in a private room, their isolated and they have to ring bells or use the phone and they...and they get delayed attention...so they really...and of course the intensive care units is an offshoot of that. The have these little private cubicles all around and a central place to see 'em. But the old open ward did the same thing for sick people. Of course it wasn't private, so if you had the money, you bought a private room. I had my appendix taken out there when I was an intern.

Interviewer 1: At James Walker?

Warshauer: Yea...James...Dr. Hooper did it. I was watching a movie one night and my stomach started hurting so bad I couldn't finish the movie...I wanted to see how it ended. I went to the hospital and I said, "Dr. Hooper, I got appendicitis." He agreed with me and took it out. They gave me the best room in the hospital. They charged seven and a half for that room, it had a private bath. And all the other rooms...none of the other rooms had a private bath.

And...and the...the rate for a private room was five bucks and the ward rate was three bucks if you could afford it...a day.

Interviewer 1: Now when you had your appendix out, you stayed in the hospital for a number of days, didn't you?

Warshauer: For about a week. Didn't cost me anything.

Interviewer 1: Not like today.

Warshauer: Well when my daughter was born, she was born in the Marion Sprunt Annex, that was an addition to the James Walker Hospital for pediatric and obstetrical care, and I don't think the hospital billed us but fifty or sixty dollars. I thought at that rate I could have two or three children. (laughing)

Interviewer 1: Well, I know that some of the doctors have talked about the intervention of third party billing, that...and the cost...of course the technology changes...

Warshauer: Well you can see that example in the...in the electrocardiograph. That was the machine, you know, you made people's...a record of their heartbeat...

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...on the graph. The hospital didn't own one when I came here. Dr. Barefoot would take his machine out to the hospital on demand and make a cardiogram. When we came here...me and Tidler, and Pigford, and Pickard, we had electrocardiograph machines in our offices. We didn't get paid for 'em by Blue Cross, only if the hospital did 'em would we get paid. So we would...we agreed we would stop doing that...taking 'em...we'd get the hospital to buy a machine and they would pay us to read it. I think they paid us five dollars, something like that. And we'd take turns reading 'em for a month. And that started the electrocardiograph division in the hospital.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Prior to that then all the doctors had their own equipment in the office is some...something like what you're saying.

Warshauer: Some of the surgeons had their own instruments.

Interviewer 1: Really?

Warshauer: Well the...the only scopes they had was bronchoscope.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: It was used...invented by Dr. Jackson, I think, to remove foreign bodies that kids would aspirate. You could even get out a safety pin with it...if you knew how to close it and bring it out. Dr. Crouch went to Philadelphia, studied for three weeks to learn how to do that.

Interviewer 1: Um.

Warshauer: ...bought a bronchoscope ad came back to Wilmington and took out foreign bodies in children's...

Interviewer 1: So if it wasn't for the continued education of physicians we would not have the stability that we have today...very interesting. Um, what year did you retire?

Warshauer: 1987.

Interviewer 1: Wow, so you had a very long career.

Warshauer: I worked for fifty-one years.

Interviewer 1: That's...that's incredible. On your retirement, do you still stay busy with medical...like do you still read medical journals, or...?

Warshauer: Well I subscribe to a loose-leaf medical textbook.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: And I get monthly updates, that's about all. I do it mainly to see...when I get sick I'll know what to do. (laughing)

Interviewer 1: But certainly, you know, your experience and knowledge...you could...if somebody needed to consult with you, you would be available for something like that...or?

Warshauer: I know very little about the latest drugs...I'll bet there's been about forty or fifty drugs introduced since 1987 that I've never heard of. And also...especially if they're genetics, immunology...it's expanded so much in recent years that nobody can keep up with it unless you're specialized in it. And in invasive cardiology...we didn't do any of that. We didn't put the needles in the people and catheters in their heart.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: Only thing I know about that is personal, whatever happened to me.

Interviewer 1: Right. So huge changes then, just in the amount of time that you retired?

Warshauer: Hum?

Interviewer 1: Just since you retired there's been a lot of changes.

Warshauer: Yes, there has, it's almost twenty years.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: And that...that's really an explosion of medical information that...they use these abbreviations that I've never heard of...ACT...AZBC...you read an article and half of it...acronyms are there...the words are so long they can't even use 'em.

Interviewer 1: Well, one of the things that we've noticed during our talking to various nurses is nurses no longer wear their caps and their uniforms.

Warshauer: That's terrible.

Interviewer 1: I was going to say, as a physician, how did you view that change?

Warshauer: I don't think its very professional that they go around...you can't tell them from a janitor.

Interviewer 1: Well, you'll be happy to know that the ladies that graduated from James Walker all...all agree with you on that. They...they don't understand why the current nurses don't wear their uniforms or their caps. So...and I know that they...all of the ladies that we've talked to talk about the respect that was offered to the physicians. As the physician entered, they stood, and offered the chair...

Warshauer: Yea...

Interviewer 1: When did you start noticing the changes of nurses?

Warshauer: Not till the very end when the nurses started knowing me and telling me what to do. (laughing)

Interviewer 1: How about young doctors coming in? You probably saw your share of interns come through the hospital, did you notice that they were different in any way...or?

Warshauer: No, not...not in the eighties when I was here working. Most of the changes have taken place since then. We always wore a coat and tie when we went to the office...make rounds at the hospital too...might put on a white coat. We didn't dress informally.

Interviewer 1: Now is it...

Warshauer: ...you could generally tell a doctor from the engineer.

Interviewer 1: Right. There was at one time significance about the white jacket. Wasn't it certain lengths you could tell?

Warshauer: A long coat...well the interns wore short white coats and the attending staff wore long white coats at most hospitals.

Interviewer 1: Is that still current today you think?

Warshauer: No I don't think so.

Interviewer 2: They can wear whatever they want to.

Interviewer 1: ...and the scrub uniforms...

Warshauer: Well you see, they supplied us with uniforms when I was an intern...that's all you got; you got the uniform and your...and your food and lodging. What money you got was infinitesimal. James Walker Hospital paid the interns, first year, twenty-five dollars a month, room and board...and uni...uniforms. Then I went to Richmond the second year...that's a bigger hospital, better hospital, and the second year intern got twelve and a half...the first year, nothing. And then I went to Rich...to Williamston Virgin...Williamston, West Virginia at a...a private hospital, in a small town. I got a hundred dollars a month, which I saved about eighty,...saved enough to go to medical college...to the University of Pennsylvania the next year. The coal mine area.

Interviewer 1: Yea, you're also talking about...another thing is...is paying for your education as you went along, whereas, a lot of physicians now, once they complete all their training, they have a huge amount of debt.

Warshauer: Yes.

Interviewer 1: So that...that's a difference.

Warshauer: Yea, um hum.

Interviewer 1: And then, I know another doctor talked about the difference in technology as far as being able to be located, like with the beeper/pager system. When you were...

Warshauer: Yea, well you take the cell phone was a great thing to have, which we didn't have. I used to make a lot of house calls and I'd go to one house and go back to the office and then the next house wanted me to see 'em.

Interviewer 1: Right.

Warshauer: If they had a cell phone they would've told me to go next door.

Interviewer 1: Sure.

Warshauer: Dr. Murchison.

Interviewer 1: He was here?

Warshauer: The father of the...Wallace Murchison.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: John Murchison...he was...he did internal medicine.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...and...well, he's about the only one too. Uh...the surgeons were Codington, Evans...they did general practice too. Evans did OB and everything else...all of 'em did.

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...even...they treated colds and pneumonia, but they made their livings doing...operating on people. Charlie Graham...Charles Graham, Donald Koonce, Fales...Robert Fales. Ah...well I...you could get a list from the Medical Society I guess.

Interviewer 1: Right. I've read that book...the Lonely Road, about the doctors here...the development of the medical here.

Warshauer: There was one Dr. Green who died before I came here...he was well known.

Interviewer 1: What about Black physicians? Do you remember any of those?

Warshauer: Yea, there were four of 'em. Eaton was one.

Interviewer 1: Okay.

Warshauer: Roane was another one. Upperman was the third one. And then there was a nutty fellow who did eyes...

Interviewer 1/ Interviewer 2: Wheeler!

Warshauer: Wheeler, yea.

Interviewer 1: We've head a lot about Wheeler!

Warshauer: But Upperman and Eaton and Roane...

Interviewer 1: Um hum.

Warshauer: ...they all did some operating and did general practice...general practice is what you might say.

Interviewer 1: Um hum. Well, there was also a long time nurse that ran the...the program over at Community named Salome Taylor, do you remember her at all?

Warshauer: Not really. I didn't come in contact with her much.

Interviewer 1: Um hum, cause we have her running that nursing school for a number of years and keeping it together...so...um...I think we're about...about through. We want to thank you again, so much, for talking to us.

Warshauer: I'm glad to do it.

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