Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

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

 

 

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Henry Kaiser set bar for sharing innovations with public

posted on May 23, 2013

By Lincoln Cushing, Heritage writer

From Kaiser Richmond Shipyard newsletter, Fore ‘N’ Aft, Nov. 12, 1943: “Bond winners Ernest Terry and Ray Worley discuss the merits of Ray’s improved rigger’s hook. This month fifteen shipbuilders from Richmond’s Yard Three won awards for production improvements.

What is the right way to reward creativity and hard work? What is an appropriate balance between corporate ownership and the public good?  These issues form the root of copyright and patent law and have shifted over time and place.

Contrary to the practices of most major companies, however, Kaiser Permanente – and its earlier entity, Kaiser Industries – have long embraced the concept that sharing is not only good for the community, it’s responsible organizational practice.

On November 17, 1942, Henry J. Kaiser recommended that an independent federal agency be formed to license all new inventions and to distribute their benefits throughout industry.

His comments were published in many news outlets, including Billboard magazine’s December 1942 issue:

“Original ideas, suggestions and developments should be interchanged among allied industries, such as airplane (production) and shipbuilding and the steel industry,” Kaiser told a U.S. Senate military subcommittee studying technological mobilization.

He said he thought his position might be considered revolutionary, but added:  “Industry will be more productive if patents are available to all industries able to use them. (After the war), compensation for their use should go to the individual as an incentive and not to the company that employs him (or her).”

Billboard’s article reported, “Workers in the Kaiser shipyards are encouraged to submit new ideas and techniques, and a prize is awarded each week for the best suggestion. In addition, the author of an accepted proposal works with an engineer in preparing sketches to illustrate an improved process.”

Article on shipyard innovation, Richmond Kaiser Shipyard newsletter, Fore ‘N’ Aft, Sept. 24, 1943: “Ralph Kinney won a $25 war bond for his adjustable template, which fits a huge shell plate to the stern casting, allowing for unavoidable variations. The job formerly took 29 man-hours, now it takes one.”

Kaiser told the committee that his industries made their data available to other builders, and likewise, he benefited from the findings of others.

Sharing tradition continues

That “revolutionary” position was not just a flash in the pan. Kaiser Permanente, Henry J. Kaiser’s most enduring legacy, has continued that tradition.

Kaiser Permanente’s fourth CEO, George Halvorson, who has led the organization since 2002, has long supported an open approach to innovation.

Some of these initiatives include:

The Care Connectivity Consortium includes Kaiser Permanente, the Mayo Clinic, Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania, Intermountain Healthcare based in Utah, and Group Health Cooperative, based in Seattle.

The consortium is dedicated to developing systems that will allow seamless sharing of health information among provider groups.

The consortium is also committed to working toward a future where timely access to health information improves the quality of care for all patients.

The Partnership for Quality Care is a coalition of not-for-profit health care providers and health care workers dedicated to guaranteed, affordable, high-quality health care for every man, woman, and child in America. The partnership strives to improve patient care as well as prevent and treat chronic conditions by sharing best practices.

Members include Kaiser Permanente, several units of the Service Employees International Union, the Greater New York Hospital Association, Group Health Cooperative and HealthPartners in Minnesota.

In 2008, Kaiser Permanente CEO Halvorson noted: “Leading health care providers have already implemented programs that contain costs, expand access, and most importantly, improve the quality of care for chronic patients. That points the way to nationwide reform.”

Banding together to beat HIV

The HIV Interregional Initiative, a cooperative effort among all Kaiser Permanente regions and Group Health Cooperative, represents the second largest provider of integrated HIV care in the United States; the largest provider is the Veterans Administration.

Sponsors of the initiative are Kaiser Permanente Foundation Health Plan and The Permanente Federation, which represents the national interests of the Permanente Medical Groups.

The Care Management Institute, a partnership between the federation and the health plan, has developed the first clinical guidelines in the United States for HIV/AIDS treatment and the appropriate use of related drugs.

The HIV Interregional Initiative works with Kaiser Permanente’s national pharmacy purchasers to get the best prices for HIV drugs.  Research using Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health records has led to exceptional success in treating patients with HIV.

In 2012, Robert Pearl, MD, executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, noted: “Our success in the treatment of patients with HIV/AIDS results from the excellence of our clinicians, our advanced [information technology] systems, our integrated delivery system and our effective coordination across specialties.”

Kaiser Permanente assists health care providers and community health clinics across the country in improving their HIV patient care by sharing its clinical best practices, provider and patient education materials, training and other expertise.

Genetic research for better chronic care

The Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment, and Health is one of the largest research projects in the United States to examine the genetic and environmental factors that can increase risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and asthma.

With DNA collected from 500,000 consenting California health plan members, the project will link comprehensive electronic health records, data on relevant behavioral and environmental factors, as well as genetic information.

Working in collaboration with other scientists across the nation and around the world, researchers hope to translate project findings into improvements in preventive care and treatment.

Henry J. Kaiser started something in 1942 that continues to drive Kaiser Permanente’s quest, 71 years later, to improve health care and access to treatment for all Americans.


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Kaiser Permanente’s LA Harbor Area Blossoms after Humble 1950 Start

posted on June 21, 2010

By Ginny McPartland

Kaiser Permanente’s post-World War II public health plan was but an embryo in 1950 when famed labor leader Harry Bridges asked Dr. Sidney Garfield to provide medical care for West Coast longshoremen. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) had just adopted a health and welfare plan for its members, and Permanente’s prepaid health coverage fit Bridges’ vision.

The health plan, then called Permanente, already had services in the San Francisco Bay area, so covering the six or seven thousand Northern California dock workers was no problem. But Permanente’s only presence in Southern California was at the Fontana Steel Plant, 70 miles inland from the Los Angeles harbor area where the roughly 3,000 longshoremen lived.

Kennebec medical clinic in the 1950s

Garfield didn’t have to ponder Bridges’ offer for long. The struggling health plan needed members – desperately. After saying “yes!” to Bridges, Garfield flew into action. He hired a physician to run the longshoremen clinic, found a suitable building in the Port of Los Angeles town of San Pedro and opened for business in about two weeks.

Today, Kaiser Permanente’s South Bay service area, boasts about 190,000 members, a 255-bed medical center, and medical offices in Long Beach, Torrance, Harbor City, Lomita, Carson, and Gardena. The KP South Bay community is celebrating its 60 years of history on Wednesday, June 23, in Harbor City.

It’s been a rough ride

The Harbor area health plan’s six decades of existence can be characterized as a roller coaster ride with its ups, downs, and unexpected turns. The years have brought growth, at times unmanageable, stopgap solutions to facility needs, the San Pedro murder of a popular doctor, and a fire that disrupted operations for a year – not all roses and sunshine.

The early medical group, led by Ira “Buck” Wallin, MD, worked out of a small clinic in San Pedro and had to fight for legitimacy and for staff privileges at any of the area hospitals. They were blackballed by the local medical community for practicing what was called “socialized medicine” when the “Red Scare” was the order of the day. This contention was typical of the anti-group-practice atmosphere anywhere Permanente Medicine established itself.

In the beginning, and for many years, the doctors made house calls and took turns sleeping overnight in a blood draw room in the clinic. They were at the beck and call of the longshoremen and their families. Over the first five years, the ILWU became steadily more impatient with the health plan for delaying construction of a sorely needed Harbor area medical center.

Early Parkview clinic in Harbor City

Meanwhile, the group had expanded to Long Beach – first to an old house and then to the old posh Kennebec Hotel across from the Pike, a popular amusement park in Long Beach. The health plan also opened a Los Angeles clinic and then a hospital on Sunset Boulevard. From 1953 when the Sunset Hospital opened until the Harbor City hospital was built in 1957, patients were shuttled to Los Angeles for hospital care.

After a tussle with the ILWU that threatened the loss of the group, Sidney Garfield and Buck Wallin got the funding to build the Harbor City medical center. The first medical office building, called Parkview, was opened adjacent to the hospital in 1958.

South Bay no stranger to innovation

The South Bay/Harbor City movers and shakers contributed more than their share of innovative ideas over the years. Some examples:

  • In 1964, Harry Shragg, who later became area medical director, was the first in Southern California Kaiser Permanente to perform outpatient surgery, a practice that would become prevalent for its economy and medical soundness.
  • In 1964-65, Buck Wallin and Chief of Medicine William Fawell pursued the idea of discharging patients sooner and providing follow-up medical care in their homes. When Medicare came along in 1965, suddenly (home health care) became one of the ‘in’ things to do.
  • In the early 1970s, Harry Shragg, Internist Jay Belsky, and Medical Group Administrator Ed Bunting worked together to develop a new exam room layout that would leave more room for the patient and the examination table. “It was such a big success that it was adopted and became standard for all of Southern California, Bunting said.

The good, the bad and the ugly

  • In 1967, Dr. Shragg saw the opportunity to help disadvantaged Harbor City people through a local program funded by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity. Kaiser Permanente used its community service funds to provide medical care for 100 participant families.
  • In 1960, Leon Quattlebaum, a well-liked and respected 36-year-old Harbor City OB-GYN, was killed in San Pedro by a local tough who, unprovoked, punched “Q” in the jaw, knocking him to the cement floor and fracturing his skull. The prosecutor at the murder trial said the only reason for the killing was the murderer’s “malignancy of heart.”
  • In November of 1973, a night fire of unknown origin collapsed the three-story Parkview engineering tower and threatened to destroy Harbor City’s medical records and appointments data. The medical offices and appointment center were up and running again in about a week, said MGA Ed Bunting. But it took about a year to rebuild the burned out section at the center and make the complex whole again.

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