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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

George Larson III, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Tuesday, August 16, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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Occasionally, the son or daughter of an Osteopathic Physician will follow in the footsteps of their father or mother.  It doesn’t happen very often but when it does the result is an Osteopathic physician who already understands what it means to be an Osteopathic physician.   As a boy, George had seen first-hand what it meant to be an Osteopathic GP in a town which had no other physicians.  In some ways he and his sister were minor celebrities as the doctor’s children, in other ways they were well aware of all the times their father wasn’t present as much as fathers with less demanding jobs.  


Apparently, at first, college was a lark and so George spent his freshman year at a small college which afforded plenty of hunting and fishing opportunities in La Grande, Oregon.  Then he went to Ashland, Oregon where he could be closer to his high school sweetheart.  Sometime in the process he began to be serious about his future and graduated.   He decided to follow in his father’s example and applied and was accepted at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.  During a time between his second and third years he spent a three-month externship at the Portland Osteopathic Hospital.  It was a time when he was accorded the respect and attention that all externs and interns at that hospital received.  Upon graduation he was invited to be an intern at that hospital.  At the time the interns had the responsibility of the entire hospital at night.  As a new facility it was rapidly gaining the regard to the surrounding community and as a result the ER became busier finally requiring a full time ER doctor twenty four hours a day.  Eastmoreland Hospital (formerly Portland Osteopathic) was staffed by a group of Osteopathic Physicians who were excellent clinicians and teachers.  Upon graduation from that program in 1972 Dr. Larson thought he was ready for anything and there was very little he didn’t know!  Two weeks into practice he had a change of attitude!


Following internship he moved to Eugene where he joined his father, George Larson II in a collaboration that lasted until the demise of his father in 1986.  Shortly after joining his father, his father became quite ill and for the next six months George III covered the entire practice.

As a staff physician at Valley Lane Hospital (Osteopathic) Dr. Larson was called upon to manage his own cases, deliver babies, serve on committees etc.  The hospital was a twenty bed facility and the active staff consisted of seven Osteopathic Physicians.


In addition to his busy private practice and hospital practice Dr. Larson also served as team doctor for the sports teams in Springfield High School.  He was a Rotarian and also continued to pursue his passion for auto racing.  He says his career was doing rather well until he went to California and began to compete against the “big boys.”   His wife was elected to the city council of the City of Springfield and served for ten years.


After the demise of his father he continued to practice in Springfield.  For a while he tried to work with the larger physician groups but soon discovered that systems owned and managed by hospitals were hopelessly inefficient.  Now he and an MD internist have the practice free of any entanglements except those imposed by Medicare and other insurances.


His greatest achievement was joining the staff of Sacred Heart Hospital, the first DO on staff.  He also served a term as president of the Lane Academy of Family Practice.  In addition to his credentials as a member of the Oregon Osteopathic Association and later the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Larson was board certified by the American Academy of Family Practice.   Dr. Larson III still practices in the Springfield area, providing Osteopathic Care to his many patients.


His greatest disappointments were when he had to cease delivering babies because of the high cost of malpractice insurance, and the closure of Lane Valley Hospital.


His advice to young people considering careers as Osteopathic Physicians is “to make sure that you understand what you are getting into.  If you get the chance “shadow” an Osteopathic Physician to get a feel for how they care for their patients.”  The reward is to be able to help people when they need it most.

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