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

The Division 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.


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