Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dr. Hugh Stephenson; Was Instrumental in Establishing the Medical School at the University of Missouri as a Four-Year Program

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dr. Hugh Stephenson; Was Instrumental in Establishing the Medical School at the University of Missouri as a Four-Year Program

Article excerpt

Dr. Hugh Stephenson, who died Thursday (July 26, 2012), helped turn the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri at Columbia into a full, four-year institution.

During the 1950s, he successfully lobbied the Legislature to build a medical school to replace one that provided only two years of training. Students had to transfer to a four-year medical program to finish their degrees.

Dr. Stephenson was a popular professor and the first full-time surgery faculty member at the medical school. In 1958, he performed the university's first open-heart surgery.

The university also credits him for designing the "crash cart"- the Mobile Cardiac Resuscitation Unit - as well as being one of the first surgeons to implant an automatic cardiac defibrillator for shocking the heart after it goes into arrest.

Dr. Hugh Edward Stephenson Jr. died at his family's summer home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He was 90 and also had a home in Columbia.

He had been treated for at least 10 years for complications of Parkinson's disease, a family friend said Monday.

Before Dr. Stephenson, university officials had been trying since the early 1930s to build a four-year medical school. There was never enough money during the Depression or World War II.

Dr. Stephenson was from a prominent family in Columbia, where his father was a dentist. He earned his undergraduate degree at Mizzou and studied for two years at the medical school.

Then, he was accepted at the Washington University School of Medicine, which had just three or four slots a year for third- and fourth-year students from Mizzou.

After graduating, Dr. Stephenson served as an Army radiologist in Italy. He was on the faculty at New York University Post Graduate Medical School and was chief surgical resident at Bellevue Hospital there.

While still in New York, he learned of another effort to turn Mizzou into a full-fledged medical school. He began writing legislators and making trips back home.

He testified twice before the Legislature. His message was that Missouri needed a complete medical school to help restock its physicians after World War II. …

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