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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

Sheridan Thiringer, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Friday, January 28, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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Sheridan Thiringer, DO and more about the history of the Forest Grove Osteopathic Hospital


As part of our ongoing project of learning more about the Osteopathic Hospitals in the state we are attempting to contact retired physicians who practiced in the area.  Dr. Thiringer was contacted because of his knowledge of the Forest Grove Hospital.  Like so many of the Osteopathic physicians we have contacted, his story is fascinating.

Dr. Thiringer was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. As a high school student he learned the shoe repair trade and later iron working.  He did his premed at Gonzaga University in Spokane earning his way as a shoe repairman in the winters and summers building bridges in the area.  After high school he enlisted in the Navy reserves and while he attended Gonzaga he participated in mandatory army ROTC.  For a while he said he was in the army and the navy at the same time!  During those years he married his first wife, and was subsequently accepted to the Des Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in 1963. Upon graduation he came West again and completed a one year rotating internship at Portland Osteopathic Hospital in 1964. After completing his internship he had hoped to begin an internal medicine fellowship with Dr. Robert Conley. There was a long delay before he could begin the fellowship, so in the interim he joined a DO in Vernonia - Dr.Hobart.  Dr. Thiringer stayed in Vernonia for a time but when Dr. Hobart decided to leave two years later Dr. Thiringer decided that the burden of being the only doctor in a small town was too much.
When Dr. Hobart left Vernonia two years later, Dr. Thiringer also left and joined the staff of the fledgling Forest Grove Osteopathic Hospital. That hospital staffed by former Portland Osteopathic Hosptial DOs was formed by Dr. Wood (Ob/Gyn), Dr.Richards(urology), Dr. Jackson(general surgery), Dr. Hare (IM), Asbury (anesthesia). Together they also formed the Maple Street Clinic in Forest Grove which still is in existence to this day.
Dr. Thiringer worked at the clinic as a GP. As the hospital became busier it became evident that a second anesthesiologist was needed so after a training program at Portland Osteopathic, Dr. Thiringer stepped in to become the hospital's second anesthesiologist.  While practicing in Vernonia and later in Forest Grove, Dr. Thiringer became very involved in the local community.  He was the team physician for the Vernonia High School and the Forest Grove High School.  He was the team physician for all sports at Pacific University, he was deputy medical investigator(coroner ) for Washington County.  During that time he was often called to testify in court at sanity hearings. He was an educator for the EMTs throughout Washington County, the department physician for the Washington County Sheriff's department. He served as the physician advisor for the Vernonia and Forest Grove fire departments as well.  Later he stopped his anesthesia practice ("no ticket") and joined the staff of Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro. Today, he still works one day a week as a GP at the Maple Street Clinic.  Over the years he has developed an expertise in the ins and outs of the Medicare System and serves as consultant for the hospital in assuring proper use of coding etc.
If that isn't enough, Dr. Thiringer rejoined the Navy as an office and served in the reserves until retirement at age 60. Many interesting experiences serving as temporary US embassy physician in many countries. As many physicians he served on the executive committee of the Forest Grove Hospital and also as chief of staff.   Later, he was appointed to the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners and served a six year term with great distinction. During his time on the Board he was given the task of supervising the EMTs/Paramedics of the State of Oregon.
Dr. Thiringer and his two young children had to leave his first marriage.  For several years, while performing the tasks listed above he acted as a single dad.  The children lived with him.  Often, when he was called to the hospital for emergency anesthesia they had to accompany him. They often slept  in the doctor's dressing room, being cared for by the RNs on staff with forays to the kitchen for midnight ice cream.  He said his son remembers arriving on scenes of fatal accidents at night, lights flashing.  The children were well known at the local sheriff's office, the firestation, and other places around Forest Grove. Dr. Thiringer stated that there was no way he could have done all the things that he did without the support of the people of that community. His family became the family  of the folks of Forest Grove and Vernonia!

Today, Dr. Thiringer lives with his second wife Judy on his farm in Vernonia, raising bees, chickens and Kobe beef.  His son, Kim Thiringer, DO a highly regarded ENT surgeon practices in Hillsboro.   His daughter Sherri lives in the Midwest.


What is so remarkable about Dr. Thiringer's story is that he was able to accomplish so much under very trying personal conditions.  Dr. Thiringer states that his biggest challenge in his career was to be a single parent providing for the education and support that his children needed all the while providing care to his community.  His greatest satisfaction has been able to have the privilege of being an Osteopathic Physician in the State of Oregon.

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