Medicine: At Rockefeller Hospital

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On April 30 Dr. Rufus Cole, director of the hospital of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, reached the age of 65—time for a major Rockefeller Institute executive to retire. The Institute had Dr. Cole's successor, Dr. Thomas Milton Rivers, 48, who had worked there for 15 years, all ready. The shift was formally announced last week.

Dr. Cole's original researches in Medicine were on gonorrhea, a disease which is now being dramatically conquered by means of dyes and heat (TIME, May 17). He soon turned to typhoid, then to pneumonia. He has concentrated on pneumonia ever since he organized the Rockefeller Institute's Hospital in 1910, has discovered or helped discover many of the 32 types of pneumococci and serums to combat some of them. He remains a member emeritus of the Rockefeller Institute.

Dr. Rivers was just flowering as a Johns Hopkins pediatrician when the War broke out. As a first lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps he saw so much of the influenza epidemic of 1918 that after the Armistice he became a bacteriologist and the nation's foremost authority on the submicroscopic, filterable viruses which cause diseases like influenza. His great achievement, accomplished at the Rockefeller Institute, was to grow viruses in tissue cultures. This permits quantity production of unadulterated virus, so far chiefly useful for further research. Dr. Rivers latest work has been on a new disease, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, which attacks the spinal cord and brain.

The retirement of Dr. Cole and the appointment of Dr. Rivers called attention to a little known but important section of a well known research foundation. Two structures separated from the larger buff brick Institute building which sits among a grove of young sycamores on the bank of Manhattan's East River, the hospital is like few others in the world. Sixty-nine patients can be accommodated, but seldom are there more than 45. At their services are 35 medical specialists, a staff of trained nurses, all the laboratory facilities of the entire Institute. And no patient's money is any good at Rockefeller Institute Hospital. Everything is free.

All the Institute asks is that its patients bring a disease on which the staff is currently working to inform the medical world. Patients currently under treatment are suffering from pernicious blood diseases, nephritis, advanced heart failure, rheumatic fever, chicken pox, measles, acute respiratory ailments. The hospital's standing invitation reads: "Suitable patients may be referred to the hospital by physicians and others who are interested. . .". An ambulance will be sent when necessary." But not many doctors want to surrender their patients to the Rockefeller Institute Hospital. Sometimes an East Side drunk wanders in. Sometimes a motor car strikes a pedestrian outside the Institute's park and he gets first aid in the hospital. But usually the medical staff have lots of time for the serene preoccupations of Science, are agitated upon rare occasions by the visit of a curious Rockefeller.