One of the most
far-reaching new tools, the laser, was applied to medicine by John A.
Dixon. The laser is now used in most surgical specialties worldwide
to stop bleeding and to destroy malignant tissues, among other uses.
Between 1982 and 1992, more than 1,500 patients were treated with his
new device, and more than 1,500 physicians from all over the world were
trained at the University of Utah to use the method successfully. Except
for some minor burns, no serious complications were encountered during
the development of the procedures. The dramatic decrease in neonatal
deaths from fifteen to three per 1,000 live births in Utah during the
twenty-year period from 1968 to 1988 was due in great part to the efforts
of Dr. August L. Jung, who created neonatal intensive care units (NICUs)
first at the University of Utah, Primary Children's Medical Center,
and LDS Hospital, and then in all major hospitals in the area.
Dr. David Bragg
(appointed in 1970) changed the character of the Department of Radiology
at the university and the practice of radiology in the state by introducing
many modern methods such as angiography, CT and MRI scanning, and interventive
radiology. Through his success in attracting massive research grants,
his staff has produced a prolific scientific output (150 to 200 papers
per year) as well as some fifty textbooks.
The first modern
radiation therapy facility between Denver and the Pacific Coast was
established by Drs. Henry P. Plenk and Richard Y. Card at St. Mark's
Hospital in 1960. The Tumor Institute became the Radiation Center when
it moved to a yet more modern facility at LDS Hospital in 1969. Plenk
pioneered in the use of two procedures to enhance the effect of radiation
on tumors: hyperbaric oxygen and hyperthermia. Intraoperative radiation
therapy was another major innovation fostered by Drs. William T. Sause
and R. Dirk Noyes at LDS Hospital.
of Radiation Oncology at the University of Utah was instituted in 1971
with the appointment of Dr. J. Robert Stewart, who established a productive
section in radiation biology. He and his staff became very involved
in hyperthermia. In 1986 Stewart became director of an important cancer
center at the University of Utah and affiliated hospitals.