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 One day in November of 1895, a physics professor     
 named Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen was bent over his
 laboratory table in Wursburg, Germany. He was
 investigating cathode-ray fluorescence by            Note: to see any of
 passing electricity through tubes filled with        the historical photos
 rarified gas, similar to our fluorescent light       below full-size,
 bulbs. Suddenly he noticed a strange glow            click on them. This
 emanating from a small screen lying nearby on        requires that your
 the table. This was not supposed to be part of       Web browser's
 the experiment!                                      Preferences be
                                                      configured correctly.
 Fascinated with the new phenomenon, he               These photos are from
 investigated it day and night for seven weeks.       the Beth Israel
 He saw the outline of the bones in his hand and      Deaconess archives
 then in his wife's hand. Roentgen realized that      and are copyrighted
 a previously unknown "invisible light" was           by the hospital.
 causing the fluorescence and the resultant image
 (it turned out to be an electromagnetic wave         
 with a very short wavelength). Because "X" is
 used in mathematics to indicate an unknown
 quantity, he called the phenomenon an "X-ray."       

 On December 28, 1895, Roentgen wrote up his          
 findings in the Wursburg Physical Medical
 Society Journal -- and became instantly famous.
 At a January meeting his "X-ray" was named the       
 "Roentgen Ray." So enthusiastic was the
 scientific world over this discovery that more
 than a thousand articles and over fifty books        
 about the "Roentgen Ray" were published in that
 first year, 1896.
 Within several years, two French researchers
 named Pierre and Marie Curie had isolated            
 radium, an element that emits radiation as it
 decays. This gave further impetus to the medical
 advances that had begun with Roentgen's              
 discovery. Equipment was rapidly manufactured
 and installed in major hospitals; surgeons were
 especially delighted with its ability to reveal
 the body's secrets. Roentgen himself never tried
 to patent or benefit financially from his

 Boston, with its mixture of science and industry
 and its many institutions of higher learning,
 was the city to lead the way in America. Two of
 the earliest American physicists to confirm
 Roentgen's work, Professor Amos Dolberg and
 Professor John Trowbridge, were both centered in
 Boston, as were many other pioneers. At first,
 X-rays of patients were performed in the physics
 labs of MIT; but when the first year of
 Roentgenology had ended, the City of Boston
 boasted five X-ray machines being used for
 medical purposes.


 The History of Radiology at Boston's Beth Israel
             Deaconess Medical Center

              by Morris Simon, M.D.

 Toward the end of the 19th century, Boston
 experienced a large influx of Jewish immigrants
 who had fled persecution in eastern Europe. They
 spoke little English, had different social,
 dietary and religious traditions, and were
 distrustful of the medical care available at
 existing Boston hospitals. A group of young
 Jewish doctors and community leaders met on June
 21, 1896 to plan a Jewish hospital for "persons
 of any creed or nationality." This began in 1902
 as the Mount Sinai Hospital Outpatient
 Department, funded by a federation of charitable
 organizations. Part-time physicians staffing
 twenty medical clinics were immediately
 overwhelmed by patients. Dr. Ariel W. George was
 appointed the first roentgenologist in 1909.
 Patients were transferred to his office and the
 X-ray plates were sent back to the hospital.
 Pressure for inpatient services was strong but
 the dispensary was experiencing severe financial
 difficulties. In May 1916 the hospital was
 abruptly closed since "the war had made it
 impossible to raise funds." But the idea of a
 major hospital had taken root. The Beth Israel
 Hospital opened its doors within eight months
 with the majority of the physicians from the
 Mount Sinai Hospital; its objectives and bylaws
 virtually identical. One of these physicians was
 Dr. Samuel A. Robins, a Tufts graduate who had
 switched from obstetrics to roentgenology after
 four months of training with Paul F. Butler at
 the City Hospital.

 Samuel A. Robins, M.D., Chief of Radiology,

 Dr. Robins was appointed roentgenologist at Beth
 Israel Hospital in 1918. Starting with a
 portable machine borrowed from his office, he
 soon installed two x-ray machines in a barn
 across the road from the hospital. These
 machines were operated by the color and sound of
 the gas tubes with much guess work. Patients
 were brought over on stretchers, bundled up
 against the weather. Because of wartime
 conditions, the X-ray department (which was on
 the ground floor of the nurses' home) did not
 open until March 1919. At that time the hospital
 had fifty inpatient beds. In 1922 it was decided
 that the primary clinical purpose of Beth Israel
 should be expanded to "stimulate investigation
 and research," as well as teaching and training
 of medical students and physicians.
 Post-graduate training opportunities for Jewish
 doctors were almost nonexistent in Boston. It
 was decided to build a new hospital close to the
 Harvard Medical School. Funds were raised and
 the new site on Brookline Avenue was purchased.
 The construction of a series of buildings
 started in 1924. The first patients were
 admitted in August 1928.

 The academic relationship with the medical
 school began with the full- time appointment of
 Dr. Herman Blumgart in 1928 as chief of a
 clinical department of medical research, with
 teaching responsibilities for medical students.
 The school catalogue for 1928-1929 includes a
 description of "an extensive x-ray department"
 at Beth Israel Hospital. Dr. Blumgart had
 pioneered the use of a radioactive tracer to
 study animal and human blood flow, reported in a
 series of fifteen scientific papers. He was also
 the first to use radioiodine for the treatment
 of intractable cardiac disease. He was the first
 physician named to the Honor Roll of Nuclear
 Pioneers by the Society of Nuclear Medicine in
 1969. Dr. Robins conducted a busy private
 clinical radiology practice while serving
 part-time as Chief of Radiology at BIH. He
 became Professor of Radiology and Chairman of
 the Radiology course at Tufts Medical School,
 his alma mater. He also served as president of
 the New England Roentgen Ray Society, the
 Greater Boston Medical Society, and the Norfolk
 District Medical Society. He published about
 thirty-five papers and book chapters dealing
 mainly with the genitourinary tract. Dr. Robins
 attracted a number of strong associates, notably
 Dr. William S. Altman, Dr. Charles Liebman, and
 Dr. George White. However his most notable
 appointment was undoubtedly that of Dr. Felix
 Fleischner, who became the first full-time
 radiologist at BIDMC in September 1942.

 Felix G. Fleischner, M.D., 1942-1960

 Born in Vienna in 1893, Felix Fleischner
 graduated from the University of Vienna Medical
 School and trained in radiology with a number of
 the early pioneers including Haudek, Holzknecht,
 and Kienbach. He then became chief of the
 roentgen department of the Vienna CS Child's
 Hospital for six years with professorial rank.
 He was a scholar, publishing eighty-seven papers
 in the European radiologic literature before
 World War II. He was also a renowned lecturer in
 radiology of the post-graduate courses sponsored
 by the University of Vienna and the American
 Medical Association. In 1930 he became Professor
 and head of radiology of the Second Medical
 Clinic of the University. As a delegate to the
 fifth International Congress of Radiology in
 Chicago in 1937, he met a number of leading
 American radiologists.

 Following the annexation of Austria by Hitler,
 Dr. Fleischner fled to Boston with his family in
 1938. He spent two years in the radiology
 department of the Massachusetts General Hospital
 and another two years in private practice in
 Greenfield, Massachusetts. He was offered a
 position at Beth Israel Hospital in 1942 with
 appointments at Harvard and Tufts Medical
 Schools. He started the first formal residency
 training program in radiology at BIH, and became
 Professor of Radiology at Harvard in 1952. The
 Fleischner era was characterized by a strong
 emphasis on radiologic teaching and research.
 During his American career he published an
 additional 165 scientific articles (for a total
 of 251) and made numerous seminal contributions
 to the literature of radiologic imaging. He
 received many honors. Two international
 symposia, the first on pulmonary embolism and
 the second on frontiers of chest radiology, were
 dedicated to him. Dr. Fleischner represented the
 Harvard Medical School at the 600th anniversary
 of the University of Vienna in 1965, an ironic
 twist of history.

 Dr. Fleischner was an inspirational role model
 and mentor to many students, residents and
 professional associates. After retirement from
 the Beth Israel Hospital in 1960, Dr. Fleischner
 continued to teach at the Peter Bent Brigham
 Hospital and the Massachusetts General Hospital
 until his death in 1969. His finest memorial
 tribute was the adoption of his name by the
 Fleischner Society, the prestigious
 multidisciplinary international society of
 leading experts in chest disease.

 Search for a Successor, 1960-1963:

 Robert Shapiro, M.D. (Director 1962-1963)

 While the search for a successor continued, Dr.
 Morris Simon, a senior associate of Dr.
 Fleischner's, served as Acting Chief. Dr. Robert
 Shapiro, Professor of Radiology at Yale and
 Director of the St. Raphael's Hospital Radiology
 Department was selected as the new Director. He
 had authored a classic textbook on myelography.
 He accepted the position in 1962 and initiated
 negotiations with the medical school and the
 other Harvard teaching hospitals in an attempt
 to reorganize, consolidate and strengthen the
 academic ties between these institutions.
 However, the decentralized Harvard pattern was
 deeply entrenched and the talks eventually broke
 down. As a result, Dr. Shapiro resigned after
 one year and returned to New Haven.

 Morris Simon, M.D. 1958 - Present (Director

 Dr. Simon graduated from medical school in South
 Africa in 1948 and after an internship year and
 starting a surgical residency he decided to
 become a radiologist. He moved to London in
 1950, completed his radiology residency at the
 London Hospital and then joined the staff of
 Guys Hospital as a radiology registrar. Guys was
 the major British referral center for cardiac
 cathereterization and cardiac surgery, then in
 its infancy. This provided a great opportunity
 to correlate the radiologic and hemodynamic
 findings in these patients, and this became the
 major focus of his research. Meanwhile, across
 the Atlantic, Dr. Fleischner had also published
 some of the early studies in this new field. It
 was thus an easy decision for Dr. Simon to
 accept an associate position with the renowned
 Dr. Fleischner at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston
 in 1958. This led to a close professional as
 well as personal relationship between the two

 In 1963 Dr. Simon was offered and accepted the
 Chief position, at age 37. The challenge was to
 maintain and build upon the strong academic and
 clinical legacy of Fleischner. Important staff
 additions included senior associates Keith
 Rabinov, Norman Joffe and Brian Leeming.
 Laboratory investigations of the pulmonary
 circulation, newer techniques in angiography and
 clinical radiology, and early applications of
 computer technology to medical-information
 processing were the primary interests of the
 department. The residency program was enlarged
 to twelve. However, after a few stimulating
 years, the administrative burdens become
 increasingly demanding and frustrating, and Dr.
 Simon requested the appointment of a new

 Sven Paulin, M.D., Ph.D. 1970 - Present
 (Director 1970-1993)

 Dr. Paulin became Chief of Radiology in 1970.
 His medical school training, radiologic
 residency and first clinical appointments were
 all in Sweden. His Ph.D. thesis on coronary
 arteriography was recognized as a landmark as
 soon as it was published as a monograph. He was
 invited to the U.S.A. by Dr. Herbert Abrams and
 joined him as a fellow at Stanford. He
 subsequently moved to Boston with Dr. Abrams,
 who was appointed Chairman at the Peter Bent
 Brigham Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr.
 Paulin's appointment as Chief at the BIDMC was
 accompanied by a marked expansion and renovation
 of the radiology department and research
 facilities including state-of-the-art
 angiography equipment and substantial medical
 and support staff increases. Dr. Simon and other
 senior radiologists remained on the staff and
 were joined by Drs. Ferris Hall, Colin McArdle,
 Robert Edelman, Eric Fossel, John Kleefield and
 others. The stage was set to incorporate the
 break-through technologies of the era,
 particularly echocardiography, body ultrasound,
 computerized tomography, magnetic resonance
 imaging, and spectroscopy. Research now focused
 on the heart and contrast agents though the
 pulmonary circulation and computer projects
 continued. Dr. Jean Serur was appointed the
 first full time head of radiology research and
 was succeeded by Eric Fossel. MR angiography
 research was a pioneering effort under Bob

 The residency program was increased to sixteen.
 The Radiologic Foundation was established. The
 first satellite imaging center was opened at
 1101 Beacon Street. Full Harvard professorships
 are held by Drs. Paulin, Simon, Hall and
 Edelman. In 1993 Paulin retired as chairman but
 continued to serve as a cardiac radiologist.

 Herbert Y. Kressel, M.D. Chairman 1993 - Present

 Dr. Kressel assumed the chairmanship of the
 department of radiology in 1993. His radiologic
 training was at the University of California,
 San Francisco. His subsequent national academic
 stature and administrative experience were
 achieved at the University of Pennsylvania,
 where he became the director of the pioneering
 magnetic resonance imaging division.

 His appointment once again triggered a major new
 era of reorganization and expansion of the
 radiology department. This reflected the
 changing patterns of health care delivery in the
 entire country. A new ambulatory center has been
 built adjacent to the hospital, virtually
 doubling the size of the radiology department.
 The new facility opens in January 1996 and will
 become the main radiology department. The
 original department is being simultaneously
 renovated to serve inpatients but will also be
 used for major outpatient procedures. New
 magnetic resonance facilities for clinical use
 and research, and additional spiral CT and
 ultrasound equipment are being added. Film
 interpretation, teaching and conference spaces
 have been expanded. Improved operational
 efficiency is being provided by new and expanded
 state-of-the-art digital computerization of
 patient control and of imaging, as the
 department evolves cautiously toward a fully
 digitized system. A substantial increase in
 support staff as well as medical and nursing
 staff has been initiated. Closely linked
 satellite facilities have been opened in
 Lexington and others are in the planning stage.
 The residency program has increased to twenty.
 The clerkships for Harvard students have become
 extremely popular under the direction of Dr.
 Gillian Lieberman. Research activity in MRI and
 Spiral CT as well as interventional angiography
 and ultrasound have been further invigorated.
 The radiology department is once again prepared
 to play a leadership role in medical imaging as
 we move into the 21st century.