| Dr. Malcolm Brown with his wife, Patricia Brown, in their garden.
Dr. Malcolm Brown attended Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut before studying medicine at Columbia Medical School in New York City. He was a medical intern at Bassett from 1973 to 1976. Although he has lived in North Carolina for many years, he still feels a bond with Bassett because of those years as a Bassett intern.
"We really enjoyed those years," Dr. Brown said. "Living in Cooperstown was an interesting experience."
Dr. Brown was one of six medical interns, a close group that he felt got along well. "We had a great camaraderie among the house staff," he noted. He loved the surroundings and liked the countryside, although the winters were difficult. He remembered getting out in the snow, and also getting stuck in the snow.
Most of all, he felt that "the hospital delivered super medicine," and also "a very good education." The interns worked long hours for that education, he thought. "We worked 36 on, 12 off for quite a bit. It's good they've changed that," he said. Even with those long hours and the hard work they entailed, he remembers his time at Bassett fondly.
A key component of those fond memories was his teachers. "John Davis was a superb teacher," Dr. Brown emphasized, and "Walter Franck was my mentor. I became a rheumatologist because of him." Summing up, he said, "It was a good life. It was just a good life."
Dr. Brown gives regularly to support both Bassett's annual fund and medical education.
| Dr. William J. Meisler.
William Meisler grew up in New York City and, like Malcolm Brown, attended Columbia Medical School. Emphatically, he stated, "Of all the professional decisions I made in my life, the smartest one I made was the one to do my internship at Bassett."
Dr. Meisler came to Bassett in 1978. Prior to that, all of his training had been in the city. The experience of rural medicine changed his attitude about where he wanted to practice, where he wanted to live, and ultimately, what he wanted to do with his life.
Dr. Meisler described his training in the city as working with a lot of people who inflicted harm upon themselves--"rod and gun club members," he called them, meaning gang members. In rural medicine, by contrast, he said he dealt with "people hurt on tractors, people who had heart attacks, not people deliberately hurting themselves or each other, who would get treated and just go out and do it again. These people only came to the hospital if they had to. They didn't take the facilities for granted, because there weren't a lot of facilities."
Although Dr. Meisler has not returned to Cooperstown in years, he still feels a strong connection to Bassett. Two short stories help to explain why.
Late one night when Dr. Meisler was working at the hospital, he had to get blood drawn on a patient "who had impossible veins, just invisible veins," he said. "Everyone on staff tried, but no one could make a successful draw." They called the IV team, which happened to consist of two women who were neither on call nor at work. It was the middle of the night. Both came right into work and managed to get the blood drawn. They were cheerful about it and happy to come in. Dr. Meisler said, "I was just floored. That would never have happened in the city."
The other incident occurred after a long period of work in the winter. He was finally going home to see his family for a brief break. Hiking back to his apartment through knee-deep snow, he realized that he hadn't moved his car in two weeks. It was buried under a deep pile of now heapped up by the plow. Wearily he went to get a shovel. Two men who worked at Bassett saw this and approached him. They said, "Doc, you work hard enough at the hospital. Go inside and sit down. We'll dig out your car for you." And they did.
Dr. Meisler said these two stories exemplify the pride people took in their work and the spirit of cooperation they had about it. The technicians, the nurses--everyone was helpful and dedicated. He was astounded by the difference in attitude he found in Cooperstown compared to the attitude he had experienced in the city.
Now, he feels that one of Bassett's strengths is its rural location. It gives students a unique opportunity to study medicine at a very high caliber in a really rural location. That's one reason he supports Bassett and medical education.