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Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland

A Memoir of the Wangensteen Era

2020
Author:

Henry Buchwald

Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland

The golden era in American surgery, described by a young doctor practicing under innovator Owen Wangensteen at the University of Minnesota


Henry Buchwald’s account of the Wangensteen era brings to life a medical culture that thrived on debate and the expression of ideas, a clinical practice bound only by the limits of a surgeon’s inspiration and imagination. Entertaining and informative, Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland conjures the character—and characters—of a time that forever changed medicine and the lives of millions.

In 1960, fresh out of a stint in the Air Force, Henry Buchwald was recruited by Dr. Owen H. Wangensteen to join the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota’s medical school. For an American born in Austria, a child of the Holocaust, a position in a city then considered by some to be the “anti-Semitic capital of the United States” might seem an uneasy fit, but in the culture of innovation created by Wangensteen, Buchwald, who had chafed against the rigidity of East Coast medical practice, found everything an imaginative young surgeon could have asked for. Surgical Renaissance in the Heartlandis the story of a golden era in American surgery, ushered in by Wangensteen’s creative approach to medical practice, told by one who lived it.

 

Buchwald describes the roots, heritage, and traditions of this remarkable period at the University of Minnesota’s medical school, where the foundations of open-heart procedures, heart and pancreas transplantation, bariatric surgery, implantable infusion pump therapies, and other medical landmarks originated. Buchwald’s account of the Wangensteen era brings to life a medical culture that thrived on debate and the expression of ideas, a clinical practice bound only by the limits of a surgeon’s inspiration and imagination. As entertaining as it is informative, Surgical Renaissance in the Heartlandeffectively conjures the character—and characters—of a time that forever changed medicine and the lives of millions.

Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland

Henry Buchwald is professor of surgery and biomedical engineering and the Owen H. and Sarah Davidson Wangensteen Chair in Experimental Surgery Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. The recipient of numerous awards and honors in recognition of his clinical and scholarly accomplishments, he is the past president of five surgical organizations. He lives with his wife, Emilie Buchwald, the founder of The Gryphon Press and cofounder of Milkweed Editions, in Minneapolis.


Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland

Contents


Prologue


1. Beginnings


2. The Roots of the Wangensteen Era


3. Settling Into Minnesota


4. Culture Shock


5. Anoka and Stillwater


6. Wangensteen’s Surgery Service


7. Early Research


8. Varco’s Surgery Service


9. Laboratory Founded


10. Laboratory Funded


11. Senior Resident


12. Colleagues


13. Chief Resident


14. Assistant Professor


15. Endgame


Epilogue


Chronology


Acknowledgments


Index