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History of Medicine in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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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.

Specialization 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).

The specialization 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.


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