Dan Golenternek, MD – POW Physician

posted on November 8, 2018

Lincoln Cushing, Heritage writer

 

Dr. Golenternek at liberation, 9/14/1945.

When we think of Army veterans, we usually think of infantry soldiers who fought on the front lines. But the armed forces also include health care professionals whose medical service exemplifies the highest levels of sacrifice and bravery. Dan Golenternek, MD endured World War II in just such a manner that serves as a shining example.

The first reveal of his sacrifice emerged when we learned he was a prisoner of war in a short report from the Oakland (Kaiser) Permanente Foundation Hospital in the December 1945 issue of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association Bulletin:

Coffee consumption in the staff dining room rose sharply in October with a daily contingent of colleagues back from the wars to tell their stories and catch up on gossip from the home front. Major Dan Golenternek has gained back 90 pounds of the somewhat more which he lost during three and a half years in Japanese prison camps …

Such weight loss is alarming. What happened?

Liberated prisoners waving at the gate to Hanawa Prisoner of War Camp #6, September 14, 1945.

Dr. Golenternek, who’d been training at L.A. County Hospital before enlisting in the Army, was captured by the Japanese Army in April 1942 and imprisoned in the Philippines soon after he’d gone to the South Pacific. Later he was one of two U.S. Medical Corps physicians at the Sendai #6-B prisoner-of-war slave labor camp working at the Mitsubishi Mining Company copper mine in Hanawa, Japan. At liberation, it held 546 POWs: 495 Americans, 50 British, and 1 Australian. The other physician was John Lamy, with a rank of First Lieutenant.

The Sendai camp was established on September 8, 1944 and liberated a year later. It was filled with prisoners (including survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March) shipped from the Philippines to Japan on the “hell ship” Noto Maru. The Noto Maru sailed from Manila on August 27, 1944, transporting 1,035 American POWs to Port Moji, Japan. Dr. Golenternek was one of them.

Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant James T. Murphy, who survived the Sendai camp, recounted the horrific conditions and Dr. Golenternek’s role:

Dr. Golenternek was not given any medicines or medical facilities in his required job of keeping the slave-laborers — the American POWs — fit enough to walk the two miles to and from the mine daily, in their inadequate clothing and shoes, and to perform their 12-hour shifts … By hook and by crook, by sheer innovation … he managed to keep the sickest POWs from going to the mine. He created medical facilities and methods to treat wounds where there were none. He even convinced the Japanese to increase our food rations. All his methods had curative effects, and during that year of 1944-1945, only eight POWs were lost.

Allied officers who were appointed officers at the Hanawa Prisoner of War Camp #6 in Honshu, Japan. 14 September 1945. They are, front row, left to right: Capt. Dan Golenternek, Los Angeles, Calif.; Lt. Col. Arthur J. Walker, Adj. General, Washington, D.C.; Capt. E.P. Fleming, Jr., Ashville, N.C.; Capt. R.G.H. Eagle, R.E., Lloyds Bank, London, England; Back row, left to right: Flight Lt. Robert H. Thompson, RAAF, Melbourne, Australia; Capt. T.G. Spotte, Los Angeles, Calif.; Lt. W.F. Willoughby, R.E., Lloyds Bank, London, England; Lt. R.T. Pullen, Jr., Long Beach, Calif.; Lt. John E. Lamy, Sedalia, Missouri.

Another POW physician, Harry Levitt, MD, recounted earlier experiences with Dr. Golenternek at Bilibid and Rokuroshi Camps in the Philippines:

In Bilibid, Dr. Golenternek was called to care for the Japanese commander, who had an indolent ulcer on his leg that didn’t heal despite three surgical attempts by Japanese doctors. The commander told Dr. Golenternek to operate and cure the ulcer or he would be executed. At first, Golenternek was reluctant to aid the enemy, but reconsidered after realizing his own death was imminent. The ulcer did heal. A reward of extra food, antibiotics and vitamins was secretly provided for the POWs, because the appearance of unyielding brutality had to be maintained by commander.

After the war and brief service at the Permanente Hospital in Oakland, Dr. Golenternek returned to Los Angeles to complete his training in obstetrics and gynecology. He never spoke about his wartime experiences and died in 2004.

 

Photos courtesy National Archives and Records Administration

Short link to this article: https://k-p.li/2POS4nd

 

 

Tags: , ,

The Power of One – Kaiser Permanente’s First Individual Plan

posted on October 22, 2018

Lincoln Cushing, Heritage writer

 

Brochure for Northwest Kaiser Permanente’s Personal Advantage plan, November 1998

For many years, Kaiser Permanente members signed up through “groups” — organizations such as unions or employers who provide health plan benefits to their employees. However, when the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010 and the first open enrollment began 2014, Kaiser Permanente saw a large demand for “individual member plans” — plans families and individuals purchase themselves — and created options accordingly.

That wasn’t the first time. In 1995, an exciting new Kaiser Permanente individual plan was opened to the public.

When founding physician Sidney Garfield, MD, started his practice for the workers on the Colorado River Aqueduct project in 1933, they were covered under an industrial health plan. Non-work-related health care was paid as fee-for-service, but Garfield soon covered that under a low-cost prepaid plan. Dr. Garfield next cared for the workers at the Grand Coulee Dam project in Washington, where there was a community of wives and children. When the unions insisted, a prepaid health plan was extended to families. During World War II, Dr. Garfield’s medical coverage of the workers in the West Coast shipyards added families, first in the Northwest in September of 1943 and then in California in April 1945.

Brochure for family health plan, 1945

After the war ended, the Permanente health plans faced a serious challenge with the loss of almost 200,000 Kaiser workers. But because of Henry J. Kaiser’s positive relations with organized labor, unions became the first group members of the public plan. Soon, corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations were signing up their employees, and for many years, group membership was the primary point of entry for health plan members. Group membership in 1959 was 80 percent; within 20 years that would grow to approximately 90 percent. The few individuals were “conversion members” who were no longer covered under a group.

In late 1995, Kaiser Permanente in Northern California sought to increase membership by launching its first non-group health plan for individuals and families who weren’t covered by their employers or a family member. It was called Personal Advantage. In 1996, the employee magazine Contact described the development:

Rates for this plan are based on age and are highly competitive, with special rates available for people living in certain geographic areas. … Personal Advantage members have access to the same comprehensive quality care provided by Kaiser Permanente’s [“conversion member”] individual plan, including a prescription plan and optional dental coverage.

Personal Advantage brochure cover, Georgia region, 2008

Personal Advantage was marketed through television and newspaper advertising, and was promoted at events that attracted young adults, such as sports events and concerts.

“Growth has been nearly 100 percent higher than expected,” said Jill Feldon, advertising manager. “Consumers like the low price, and they appreciate the value of receiving comprehensive health care coverage, access to specialists, and the high-quality care that Kaiser Permanente provides.”

In 2002, Personal Advantage Plan members were able to take advantage of the then-new phenomenon of online enrollment. The initiative marked one of the first examples of an insurer offering online enrollment through its own website, and it reduced processing time by eliminating paperwork. By 2005, the Kaiser Permanente Personal Advantage Plan was joined with a similar effort called the Kaiser Permanente Individual Plan and became Kaiser Permanente for Individuals and Families.

Group or individual, Kaiser Permanente strives to accommodate the health care needs of all.

 

Short link to this article: https://k-p.li/2PhJQDP

Tags: , ,

Hungry for Health: The Evolution of Hospital Food

posted on October 5, 2018

Lincoln Cushing, Heritage writer

 

Joyce Nishimura using Radarange model 1161 at a Kaiser Foundation hospital, circa 1958

Did you know that Kaiser Permanente’s founding physician, Sidney Garfield, MD, was an innovator in prepaid health care, hospital design and … hospital food service?

In 1955, along with E. R. Park, coordinator of the Kaiser Permanente Dietary Departments, Dr. Garfield worked out the plans for introducing microwave ovens into Kaiser Foundation hospitals. Dr. Garfield was extremely proud of this experiment, claiming they would bring more flexibility to serving patients warm meals. In 1956, he wrote an unpublished article titled “Just a Second! Becomes a Truism With Microwave Ovens.”

In this age where “fresh and local” is synonymous with good, healthy food, it’s easy to smirk at the benefits of microwave ovens in food preparation. But, like the advent of refrigeration, this technological advance had its advantages in the preparation of hospital food. The microwave’s primary purpose was warming previously cooked meals when the patient was ready to eat.

Kaiser Foundation hospital nurse using Radarange microwave oven circa 1961. The dome cover on top of the dish was designed by Marie Marinkovich of the Kaiser Dietary Department to ensure even heating.

The earliest microwave ovens were the size of a refrigerator, required water for cooling, and consumed massive amounts of electricity, thus limiting their usefulness. The Raytheon Corporation’s first commercial model, the 1161 “Radarange,” was introduced in 1954. It would be another 10 years before Raytheon produced a microwave model that was user-friendly and inexpensive enough to become a universal kitchen accessory. Between 1965 and 1997, Raytheon’s consumer products were produced under the Amana name.

Dr. Garfield was an early adopter, bringing 1161s into Permanente’s new California hospitals at Harbor City, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek.

By the mid-1960s, the ovens had gotten small enough that they could be moved out of the kitchen and placed in nursing stations, closer to patient rooms. These were accompanied by refrigerators and hot water/coffee dispensers, creating kitchenettes throughout the facility.

Kaiser Permanente nurse with food tray and happy patient, 1972

In 1965, Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Clara Medical Center became the first in the organization to provide built-in microwave ovens on the nursing floors. The Bellflower Medical Center followed suit when it opened in 1965.

An article in the June 1967 issue of the trade publication “The Modern Hospital” examined how the Kaiser Foundation hospitals were embracing microwave ovens, a key part of what was called the “total convenience food system.” At that point, most of the 18 Kaiser Foundation hospitals in the Western states and Honolulu had converted or built into their new facilities a food service system using microwave ovens and prepared foods.

Caution sign for early hospital microwave oven, 1971

Kaiser Permanente food service consultant Marie Marinkovich said: “The difference between other hospitals’ failure … and our success lies in the quality of the food being served … [our suppliers] cooperated with us fully in developing entrees, both for regular and special diets, that met our needs.”

Microwave ovens continue to serve as part of the toolkit for providing healthy and appetizing hospital food. Jan Villarante, director of Kaiser Permanente’s National Nutrition Services, calls microwave ovens “workhorses“ and notes that every food service operation within the organization uses microwaves today.

See article on Kaiser Permanente’s current efforts to develop sustainable food practices.


National Healthcare Food Service Week is October 8-14, 2018. Honor food service workers.
Pacemaker hazard warning graphic by Delmar Snider, MD, 1934-2017

Short link to this article: https://k-p.li/2NpH8XK

 

 

 

Tags: ,