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Oral Histories

Radiologist Earl R. Miller, M.D.


Short Biography

Part I (August 9, 1994)

Wartime Work on Radiation Exposure

Remembrances of Joseph Hamilton

Neutron Therapy Research

Relations Between UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco

Working for the Manhattan Project and UC Medical Center

Process for Obtaining Radioactive Isotopes

Human Applications Committee and Informed Consent

Textbox: About Consent Forms (April 11, 1995)

Work With Soley to Diagnose and Treat Thyroid Disease With Iodine-131

Patient Consent; Contradicting Perceptions

Wartime Plutonium Injections

Hamilton's Research on Effects of Cyclotron-Produced Radioisotopes

Textbox: Dr. Joe Hamilton (April 21, 1995)

Research With Patients From Laguna Honda Home

Radioactive Iodine Uptake in Schizophrenia Patients

Recalling Dr. Joseph Hamilton

Invention of a Baby Holder (1951)

Technique to Produce Infinite Laminograms

Introduction of Stereoscopy to X-ray Film Making

Postwar Preference for Unclassified Research

Zirconium and Plutonium Injections

Research With Healthy Volunteers

Tracing the Records of Patient Consent

A Career in Research

Professional Contribution

Textbox: Recollections of Research Activities (April 11, 1995)

Remembrances of Personalities

Tension Between John Lawrence and Stone

Textbox: Robert Spencer Stone, M.D., L.L.D. (March 10, 1967)

Part II (August 17, 1994)

Use of Tomography to Diagnose Tuberculosis Patients

Textbox: History of Radiology, University of California at San Francisco, as Seen by Earl R. Miller, M.D. in the Mid 1980's

Working in the Radiological Research Laboratory

Investigating How Radiologists See Images

Establishment of the UCSF Radiation Laboratory

Remembrances of University Presidents Sproul and Kerr

Early Career

Work Through the AMA to Improve Radiology Training

Rise of Radiology Specialization

Study of Pediatric Patients With Congenital Heart Disease

Physiologic Studies


Brief History, Earl R. Miller, MD

E.R. Miller's Residency and Career at UC

Recollections of an Old Crock (March 16, 1978)

Activities of Earl R. Miller as Indicated by Published Material (April 22, 1995)

Chronological Bibliography



Oct 18,1907: Born Milwaukee Wisconsin

1925-1931: BA and MA (physics) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WIS

1931: Lab Tech in Biophysics Lab; Rockefeller Research Institute New York City, NY

1932-36: MD from Medical School University of Wisconsin (AOA). Physicist, Department of Radiology; and ran the Radon Plant; Madison, WIS

1936-39: Residency in Radiology, Stanford University Hospital, San Francisco, CA

1939-40: Instructor, Radiology, Yale University, New Haven, Ct.

1940: Board Certification in Radiology

1940-49: Instructor to full Professor, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, CA

1943-45: Chairman, Department of Radiology, UC Medical Center, SF, CA

1943-45: Director, Health Physics, Manhattan Project, Berkeley, CA

1950-: Fellow of the American College of Radiology

1954-57: Member, board of Chancellors, American College of Radiology (AOR)

1957-58: Chairman, board of Chancellors

1958-74: Director, Radiological Research Laboratory, UC Medical School, Department of Radiology, San Francisco, CA

1957-65: Commission on Education, ACR

1960-65: Chairman, Commission of Education, ACR

1960's...970's: Three terms on Research Panels on Radiology, NIH

1972: Gold Medal, American College of Radiology

1974: Professor Emeritus, UC Medical Center, San Francisco, CA

1978: Regents named Earl R. Miller Radiologic Imaging Laboratory at UC Medical Center in my honor, San Francisco, CA

E R Miller's residency and career at UC

This is worth discussing, I think, because things are so different now.

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1936 (AOA) I worked my through School running a radon plant and acting as Physicist for the department of Radiology under Dr. Pohle, who did the therapy for the Department. I met Dr Lester Paul there. Bill Middleton, Professor of Medicine, pointed to Dr. Paul one day and said There goes 80% Of the diagnoses made in this Hospital" It was then that I decided that I would be a Radiologist. I spent one year in New York working as a technician in a Biophysics Lab at the Rockefeller Research Center. New York was a wonderful, safe, interesting place in 1931.

I interned in Research Hospital in Kansas City Missouri ( a town run the BOSS Pendergrass. Interesting) I had only two full nights of sleep during that year.

I spent two years at the old Stanford Hospital and SF General for residency. They offered only 2 year training courses. I spent 6 months in therapy under Dr. Robert Newell, and 6 months in Pathology under Dr. Bill Dock and Dr Dave Wood.

My medical research started at this time. At every autopsy, the coronary arteries of the deceased were injected with an opaque material. Dissection was made ala Schlesinger technique and radiographs of the specimen were obtained. It was shown that arteriosclerosis was a ubiquitous disease of the arteries and that a single blockage was rare.

I spent 6 months at SF General under the great Harry Garland who taught by scarification (Scare and Scar). I learned a lot from him. The last 6 months were spent at Stanford simply watching the practice of Radiology in a relaxed fashion.

I applied to Yale for a third year residency and was given an instructorship and a living wage. (WOW) By this time I was married and had a small daughter. New Haven was beautiful and we were lucky to have a great house there.

Hugh Wilson was Boss at Yale and he opened my eyes to what the residency and the practice of Radiology was all about. He was the sharpest radiologist I ever met. The morning started with a conference at which the cases of the day before were presented by the residents who had checked the films and had rendered a report. Dr, Wilson never missed that conference and he never missed a diagnosis that I know of. He too taught by scarification. Woe unto any resident who flubbed a case or didn't get the proper films for the examination.

Watching these residents at work made me aware of the fact that I really knew nothing about Radiologic diagnosis and that I had better get to work and learn something.

The Journal of the American Roentgen Ray Society and the Journal, Radiology, were THE Journals in which all radiologic literature was published. I decided that if I read one half of an an annual bound volume each night from one of the Societies, published during the past ten years, I probably would be ready for the Board exams and I wouldn't be such a dunce. Frequently I was reading at 3 AM but I did get through them. The Board exam was a breeze.

Dr. Robert Stone had offered me an instructorship at UCSF in July 1940 at $3500 a year. He was tight with a buck but at least I had a job. Dr. Stone was a therapist and he needed a hot-shot kid to fill in in diagnosis. We got along well. I had a ball working there. It was so much fun that I always thought that I should pay the University for the privilege of working there but I always cashed their checks. Dr. Stone supported me strongly and through him I became the youngest full Professor on that campus. He also made It possible for me to get the Radiologic Research Laboratory in 1958. He made it possible for me to work there half days. That became the joy of my life.

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