Remembering the ’Hood

I hope “the neighborhood” (“Pre-Orientation Program Welcomes Students to the Neighborhood,” P&S News, Fall/Winter 2016 issue) includes going north, to include Fort Washington, Fort Tryon and Fort George, all important in the Revolutionary War. Fort Tryon Park also contains the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has wonderful medieval art, including the famous Unicorn Tapestries, and Gregorian chants on Sunday afternoons.

 Charles Brill’61

Faculty Mentors

I still look occasionally at the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Columbia Medicine. Items in that issue of great interest to me were the sketches of important women of my time at P&S in 1938-42 (“Women—Long Denied a Role at P&S—Helped Shape Medicine in the 20th Century”). The most immediate connection was to Abbie Ingalls, an outstanding member of our class who charmed us all. My remembrance of her ability and personality was one of the reasons I urged my daughter to select Bryn Mawr College.

I had some memorable instruction in pathology from Virginia Kneeland Frantz and put a patient to sleep under the personal guidance of Dr. Apgar. As I shortly thereafter came into pediatrics, I felt the importance of Hattie Alexander’s contributions to infectious disease and Dorothy Andersen’s to cystic fibrosis.

There are other important and instructive articles in that issue but these that hit me personally stand out.

Paul R. Lurie’42
New Paltz, N.Y.


I write in fond memory of Robert Loeb, a name known to fame at P&S. A number of reminiscences in the past seemed chary of his praise. I found Dr. Loeb to have been one of the two great teachers in my life, as a student, faculty member, and practitioner. Others have noted that he did not tolerate unpreparedness or unprofessionalism (or even its semblance) in his students or associates. Why should he? Would this kind of “tolerance” of incompetence have helped us, him, or a patient?

What I personally remember best was his ability to convert the problem of an ordinary patient suffering an ordinary disease into the world’s most fascinating set of cardiovascular and renal interactions. Others have pointed out Dr. Loeb’s often frustrated attempts to include students in the discussion (not banter) of his rounds. In retrospect I’m confident he was attempting (often vainly) to light up some intellectual curiosity in us. More than once I remember him (referring to our attempt at reasonable therapy that did not “work”) asking, “Funny thing! Eh, Lindberg, funny thing?” What he meant was, how imperfect is our understanding of our craft, and (I thought) how much we needed a few experiments. More than once he would enter so fully into his dialectic that he would smile straight at us and commit that sin he never pardoned in others: He would rest his foot on the patient’s bed rail. If it is true he was looking for intellectual curiosity in us med students—even house staff—no wonder he might occasionally lose his temper.                 

Dr. Loeb ended his practice (under retirement rules one can lament) more or less on the cusp of very great changes in medicine. For example, recall his insistence on a rigorous defense of each new lab test ordered: What will you do if it’s high? What if low? etc. This scholarly reasoning was (in retrospect) out of tune with the coming of multichannel electrolyte machines, very multichannel autoanalyzers, multiphasic screening, and now genomewide analyses. But his thinking was exactly in line with modern computer-assisted medical decision making.

Of course, Dr. Loeb could be personally kind too. He once took the trouble to discuss with my wife if I should seek an internship on his service. Many a time I have thought about the fun this might have been.

Don Lindberg’58
Director Emeritus, National Library of Medicine


P&S History: Fraternities

I am trying to get information about a fraternity that existed at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in the early 20th century. A fraternity pin that I believe comes from the college consists of two triangles, one imposed on the other. On the front of one appear a skull and crossbones and the Greek word O iatros, which means the physician. On the other triangle appears the Greek letters Chi Zeta Chi, although the order could be different—e.g., Chi Chi Zeta, etc.

 My father, Thomas E. Quigley, graduated from P&S in 1918. I have this pin, together with another one consisting simply of a skull superimposed, not on crossbones but on crossed keys, looking vaguely like the papal crossed keys of Peter. Any information about either would be most gratefully received. A specific question: Did P&S have its own Greek fraternities at that time?

 Tom Quigley
Via email


Editor’s Note

Archives & Special Collections has no records of fraternities, other than the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society, that existed before 1924. Any reader having information to share with Mr. Quigley may send it to columbiamedicine@columbia.edu