Practice of Medicine
The general practitioner
was the main supplier of medical care throughout the first half of the
twentieth century. After graduation from medical school, he (or much
less frequently, she) spent one or two years in an internship and frequently
apprenticed himself for a few years to an older practitioner. He took
care of all members of the family, regardless of age, delivered babies,
diagnosed and treated medical illnesses, and performed a fair amount
of surgery. The family doctor, as a valued friend and counselor, made
many house calls and often was loved and respected.
in internal medicine and surgery began after World War I. Many physicians
assigned to specialty wards in military hospitals proceeded to take
special training after their discharge, often working at the fine medical
centers in Europe--Berlin, Vienna, London, and Edinburgh. Specialty
boards began to be formed in the 1930s and 1940s, and formal three-to-five-year
residencies were soon required in many fields. Some Utah physicians
who had restricted their practices to certain specialties before World
War I were the key organizers of several clinics in Salt Lake City,
notably the Salt Lake Clinic (1915), Intermountain Clinic (1917), Bryner
Clinic (1941), and Memorial Medical Center (1953).
process was vastly accelerated by World War II. The G.I. Bill of Rights
enabled many veteran physicians to enter specialty training and qualify
for board examination, changing the character of medical practice in
the late 1940s and 1950s.
The general internist
began to replace the general practitioner as the primary-care physician,
especially in urban areas, and also became the consultant to the general
practitioner in more complicated problems of diagnosis and treatment.
The increasing subspecialization of surgery into orthopedic, eye, ear-nose-throat,
chest, neuro-plastic, pediatric surgery, etc., continued to erode the
field of the general surgeon.