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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

Geroge Larson, II, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Tuesday, August 16, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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How DOs select the place where they will spend their careers is always interesting and often entertaining.  Dr. Larson is certainly no exception!  After graduating from the Chicago College of Osteopathic medicine, he hadn’t quite made up his mind where to practice.  So in 1941 he and his new bride came west to explore an area of the country they had never seen.  They made it to the West Coast and were heading south when their car broke down near a little town called Brownsville, Oregon.  With his medical background they decided the most knowledgeable person in town would be the local pharmacist.  They entered the pharmacy and while waiting, unbeknownst to them, the pharmacist called the town mayor to tell him he had a “live one” in his pharmacy!  According to his son, George III, in short order his father and his young bride had a practice and a place to live!


For the next ten years, Dr. Larson provided the only medical care to the people of the town.  There were seven saw mills, six churches, four taverns and a thriving rye grass industry.  Early on, the terminology use by the loggers was a cause for worry and consternation to Dr. Larson’s new bride.  Terms such as catskinner, choker setters, and pond monkey, were all alien to a girl from Chicago.  The demand for lumber during the war years was insatiable and the local mills ran round the clock.  Injuries were a frequent occurrence.  There were also fires in the dry grain in the fields nearby creating more hazards. As a result, Dr. Larson was on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  He made house calls and was frequently called upon to ride the ambulance to an injury site where he provided first aid.  To facilitate care he had a siren placed on his car so that he could provide transport for his patients to nearby Albany or Eugene, the closest Osteopathic Hospitals.  As a GP he provided OB care, orthopedic care and general practice care to the people of that community.  He was also active in community affairs including acting as fire chief, on the school board, and other responsibilities.  In those days, pharmaceutical representatives were not permitted to call on DOs so when they came to town, the local pharmacist would invite them to lunch and often Dr. Larson would join them learning about the latest drugs, etc.


In 1951, George decided to change his specialty.  For the next two years he studied Obstetrics and Gynecology at his old alma mater, Chicago.  His older brother, Norman was a professor at the school and George was offered a lucrative position as assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Chicago school.  Apparently, George III and his sister Karen detested Chicago and were eager to return to the West Coast and as a result Dr. Larson returned, this time to Eugene.  There, he joined the staff of Lane Valley Osteopathic Hospital and resumed practice as a GP.


The balance of his career was spent as a GP but his emphasis was obstetrics and gynecology.  He was often called up to consult on complex cases and performed surgery both at Valley Lane and at the Albany Osteopathic hospital.


He continued to pursue his hobbies of boating and auto racing and was active in Rotary, and various positions at Lane Valley Hospital.  His son George III joined him six months after his internship in 1971.  The two were then joined a by a Dr. Wallstrom and moved to Springfield in 1980.  They continued to support Lane Valley Hospital until it was purchased by Sacred Heart Hospital of Eugene and sold shortly thereafter. Despite severe health problems, Dr. Larson continued to practice until his demise in 1986. 


Dr. Larson was much loved and respected by the people of Brownsville and Eugene.   He was dedicated to his patients and the care of the whole person; a trait shared by many of his fellow DOs.  What a legacy and inspiration he is to us all!  Some of his office equipment can be viewed at the county museum in Brownsville.
















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