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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

George Scott Jennings, III, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Friday, December 6, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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Surrounded by mountains on all sides, in the valley including Medford, Jacksonville and other small towns is the home of Harry and David Fruit Company and numerous vineyards and wineries.  Medford, Oregon is the county seat of the area and also the home to a group of osteopathic physicians who have made a significant contribution to the health care of the people of Southern Oregon. This is the story of one of this physicians, George Scott Jennings, III, DO.

George was born in Wichita, Kansas to an osteopathic physician George Jennings, Jr. DO.  Dr. Jennings senior graduated from the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1929 and set up his first practice in a town called Kanrado, Kansas.  The town was named Kanrado because it was located very close to the Colorado state line.   At the time the country was entering the Great Depression and setting up a new practice was very difficult.   To enhance his income Dr. Jennings went back to school and got an additional degree in optometry.   As the economy worsened Dr. Jennings moved west, ultimately locating in Medford, Oregon in 1935.   There, Dr. Jennings practiced as an osteopathic physician and surgeon and an optometrist.   Dr. Jennings senior, Dr. W.W. Howard and Dr. Sherwood founded the first osteopathic hospital in Medford.  It was at this hospital that the locals DOs practiced.  Today the old hospital has been razed and a pizza parlor has taken its place.

Young George and his three sisters Hortense, Nancy and Melissa were all raised in Medford. Like so many of his classmates, George spent as much of his spare time as possible availing himself of the many opportunities to fish and hunt.  He did have enough spare time to play football and to date his sweetheart Mary Clark whom he had met in Junior High.  George graduated from high school in 1948.  During the summer he and Mary worked in the orchards around Medford picking fruit, mainly pears, for The Harry and David Fruit Company.  They recall that at the time the wage for pickers was 25 cents per hour. 

After graduation George enrolled in Southern Oregon College in Ashland, Oregon where he completed three years and applied to the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas.  At the time the Korean Conflict was raging and the draft had been reinstated.  George had already been accepted into the Kansas City school when he was drafted.  He had already had his physical when he learned that medical students were receiving deferment.  So instead of boot camp he entered medical school!

The Jennings had already married in 1950 and so the first child George Scott Jennings IV came not long after George started medical school in 1951.  Initially the young couple moved into a neighborhood that had a very high crime rate and caution was required as to where and when to go for a walk!  Later they moved into a subsidized housing location.  George had many opportunities to use the skills he was learning on the neighbors.  After the baby was born Mary worked in an aircraft factory and George worked in various jobs when time allowed.  After graduation in 1955 George interned at the hospital affiliated with the medical school in Kansas City.  While interning his second son Doug was born. 

By the time George had finished his internship the young couple were heartily sick of the climate and could not wait to come back to Oregon. Fortunately, Dr. Jennings senior had recently constructed a new clinic and there was a spot for George to begin his practice.   Right from the start George III was very busy and according to Mary the family didn’t see much of him in those years.  In addition to office practice, George had a busy hospital practice, made house calls and practiced obstetrics delivering babies as much as possible at the hospital but also in homes and on occasion in his office.  Later when a new hospital was constructed by Dr. Paul T. Rutter in Central Point, George and the other doctors moved to this new location.   Dr. Jennings estimates that about 50% of his practice was devoted to osteopathic manipulation.  Additionally he developed an interest in hypnosis and found that in his hands this technique was especially useful in treating obesity.

George never lost his passion for hunting and fishing. Because he was continuously on call and there were no paging devices, he had to devise methods whereby he could take call and still hunt and fish. Once, when the salmon were running he had a patient that was due to deliver so he called the sheriff and told him he would put red flags on each end of his boat.  If the sheriff received a call he was to find the boat and notify him of the imminent delivery.  About three PM he was notified by the sheriff that his patient was about to deliver so he sped to shore and was able to arrive in time to deliver the baby!

 Despite his busy schedule George spent time with his sons G. Scott Jennings IV, Jeffrey, and Douglas who often accompanied their father on his house calls, hospital rounds, and most importantly, hunting.  Today, G. Scott Jennings, IV DO is a cardiovascular surgeon practicing in Detroit Michigan, while Douglas Jennings, DO is an anesthesiologist practicing in Bremerton, Washington.  Son Jeffrey was born in Medford and died at an early age of carcinoma.

In addition to his very busy practice George was a member of the Kiwanis and for many years taught first aid to Boy Scouts. The Jennings also were involved in their local church.  He was also a member of the Southern Oregon Osteopathic Association and the AOA.  While George was in practice, Mary, in addition to raising three sons, worked in George’s office as a biller and to fill in if someone was ill. She was also an avid gardener and rose fancier. 

In 1993, Dr. Jennings became involved in Mary’s hobby of rose cultivation.  Initially he attended classes on horticulture and became a certified master gardener.  Together they became involved in the American Rose Society.  George taught rose cultivating classes and methods of pruning roses at the local extension garden.  Mary continued her involvement in the Rose Society and began to paint still life paintings, mainly of roses. Later the couple became judges in rose shows and traveled extensively in the United States and around the world judging rose contests.   Today they have 900 rose plants in their home; a real show place in the Medford area!

Dr. Jennings relates that his career as an osteopathic physician was very rewarding; many of the people who were his patients still remember him fondly as a kindly and caring physician.  

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