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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

Howard Scalone, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Monday, October 15, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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Many of the doctors that I have interviewed have such interesting and influential lives that our attempts to summarize their stories do not do them justice.  Dr. Scalone certainly fits in that category with a truly amazing career that has yet to end.

Howard was born into a large Italian family in the Bronx, New York.  He however, was an only child with13 uncles and aunts. This was in the height of the depression which followed the market crash of 1929. In those difficult economic times his father found work where he could. At an early age Howard was very interested in becoming a doctor and at age seven put out a shingle on the front of the family home saying he was a veterinary doctor. When a woman came to the house seeking help for her ailing dog, Howard’s mother brought his career as a vet to an abrupt end. In Cardinal High School, an old boys catholic school, Howard enjoyed the sciences. He was a member of the student council and lettered for four years in track and cross country.

Howard applied to three colleges and decided to go with the first one that accepted him, that turned out to be Pomona College in Pomona, California – a school noted for its strong science emphasis. Howard majored in a track called zoo/chem. In July of 1952 between his second and third years he eloped with Josephine Korenkiewicz and joined by a justice of the peace in New Hampshire.  (He got married in New Hampshire because he was age 20 – too young to marry in New York without parental consent.) He graduated in 1953 after three years of college. At the time the tuition was limited to one yearly amount so you could take 21 or 22 units for the price of 15. He was prompted to complete the degree in three years mostly as an economic measure. During this time the Korean War was happening and young men were often drafted. To complete his obligation he joined ROTC and later transferred to the  naval reserve, as a corpsman. While in college he learned that his best friend was interested in osteopathic medicine and was applying to the  Still College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines, Iowa. Howard was so impressed by his friend’s experience that he also applied to Des Moines and was accepted for the class of 1958.

At about the time of graduation the young couple was expecting their first child and Josephine wanted to have the baby in her home town close to her mother. So after graduation from Pomona in 1953 they moved to Connecticut to be close to family when the baby arrived. During the 1953-54 year he worked for Dow chemical as a chemist. In the summer of 54 while living in New York, he met a New York supreme court justice, judge Levi, who inquired as to their future plans. When Howard informed him that they were going to the Des Moines school that fall, he asked “why so far?”  Howard replied that it was the only school he had applied to. Judge Levi asked if he would like to go to the Philadelphia school ...he said no but it is too late now.  Judged Levi advised him to apply, he was called for an interview and went, but by the beginning of September Howard had not heard and he and Josephine packed their car and prepared to go to Des Moines. This was September. Howard decided to make a phone call to Philadelphia and ask about his application before they drove off.   The response was “why you have been accepted didn’t you get the letter.”  They drove to Philadelphia, not to Des Moines. 

The Philadelphia school was noted for its excellent OMT department and its anatomy department. At the time, Dr. Angus Kathie was head of both departments.  Howard did well in anatomy and soon became a TA . He had been plagued for years by migraine headaches and one day while working as a TA Dr. Kathie noted that Howard was in pain and right there in the lab gave him a cranial therapy treatment, he slept for three hours and never had a migraine again!  To this day Dr. Scalone utilizes OMT as a diagnostic tool and as a treatment.  He graduated in 1958.

He was accepted in 1958 to a rotating internship at Garden City Hospital just outside of Detroit. The program was a true rotating internship where the interns learned the many skills needed to be a successful DO GP.  Upon completion of his internship in 1959, he opened an office as a GP in small New York resort area called Mastic Beach  population 3000, about 80 miles from New York City. An MD friend of the family gave Howard privileges in the local proprietary hospital and along with two other doctors provided medical care to the people of the community. Over winter things were fairly calm, Howard did most of his own surgeries, made house calls, and other duties as needed. When summer came the population swelled to 30,000!  Suddenly he became very busy, seeing patients over long hours then an average of 20 house calls and emergency room visits a day.  He was also on call for the local police and called upon to pronounce death by drowning on several occasions!  In his last few days at Mastic Beach he averaged one delivery a day!  It soon became evident to him that keeping up with advances in practice and the practice itself could be impossible, so he left Mastic Beach and undertook a two year residency at Garden Grove Hospital, Michigan in anesthesia. His training initially was in the use of ether and cyclopropane.

After residency, Dr. Scalone worked at various hospitals including one in Hollywood Beach Florida and Flint Michigan. After a year he found an opportunity in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They were in the planning stages of developing a hospital, Northwest Osteopathic Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When it was finished he became the first anesthesiologist there.  Under his tutelage the department eventually held two anesthesiologists and three nurse anesthetists. For the next seventeen years Dr. Scalone worked at that hospital where he was often called upon to do angiograms, myelograms, carotid artery studies, bronchoscopies and other procedures not in the usual job description of anesthesiology, simply because there was no one else to do them. In those days it was not uncommon to go take a course for two to three weeks and be told ‘now go back to your hospital and do them.´ He also held senior obstetrical privileges because of his skill with forceps deliveries.  Additionally, he was chief of staff and held many other positions at that hospital. He was director of medical education at that hospital. Active in Wisconsin Osteopathic politics and was appointed by the 3 different governors to the joint committee on uniform hospital standards. The position lasted 11 years one day a month and the regulations were revised three times.  

In May of 1980 he and his wife decided to move to Oregon to be closer to his son David who was having serious medical problems. He heard about an opportunity in Eastern Oregon. When applying for his Oregon License he was interviewed by Robert Butler, DO who suggested that he should apply to Eastmoreland Hospital to take the place of the retiring Dr. Brooke. At Eastmoreland he practiced anesthesiology and also started a pain clinic. He also was on staff at other hospitals who recognized and appreciated his versatile skills.  

To stave off boredom he and his wife and family built their home outside of Vancouver, Washington. She drew up the plans and Howard and family constructed the home uniquely designed to be energy efficient. He also took up gardening and by 2005 was awarded a Master Gardner certificate. Additionally he has been a bee keeper for 22 years. He also sailed as crew of a boat to Hawaii and later in Fiji. One day a week he works in a free clinic in Vancouver, and there is the go to guy for folks who need OMT he is often shadowed by medical students from OHSU. Recently he was called upon by a local dentist and has been giving anesthesia to patients especially children undergoing extensive procedures.  He is also a valued member of the team that helps to interview and select the students at the new osteopathic college in Lebanon, Oregon.

When asked about his greatest achievements the first was marrying his wife, recalling her wonderful support and participation in his practice over the years. His second—becoming a DO! His greatest personal disappointment was the death of his son at age 30. His greatest professional disappointment was the loss of osteopathic hospitals across the country. His advice to prospective DOs – go for it!

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