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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

Edward Heusch, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Thursday, December 13, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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Since the first osteopathic physicians arrived in 1900, the profession has been blessed by a succession of doctors who have distinguished themselves by service to the profession and to the community at large. Only a very few have made such a lasting mark on the communities they served.  Edward Heusch is such a physician.

Dr. Heusch was born in Dayton Osteopathic Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.  At the time it was a residence that was used as a hospital, later to become Grandview Hospital a 500-bed institution that has played an important role in educating osteopathic physicians.  His father, a microbiologist, was director of laboratory services at the hospital and would serve in that capacity until 1978.   His mother was an RN who gave up her career for a time to raise Ed and his two older sisters.

The family lived in Kettering a town outside Dayton. The children attend elementary and high school in that community.  At Fairmont High Ed played football and basketball, was senior class VP, also was in class plays (the star?) He was keenly interested in science and won a state prize for a project devoted to protein electrophoresis.   Summers he worked in house construction.  At an early age he was informed by his father that he was going to be a doctor and when he graduated in 1961 this was his goal.

At the time the Vietnam War was in full swing and if a young man hesitated he would have been drafted into the army.  Ed applied and was accepted into The Ohio State University and majored in microbiology.   The curriculum was challenging and four point grade point averages were rare.  If a student faltered, the specter of serving in Vietnam was always present to offer incentive!  He joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and discovered the “joys” of hazing.  Despite this ordeal his experience at Ohio State was positive.  In his senior year he took a course in the study of words that were derived from Greek or Latin.  This course he said was invaluable in his later studies in medical school.  Summers in college he had a multitude of jobs including hospital orderly, respiratory therapy, recovery room tech and assistant pump tech in open heart surgery.  The most helpful was his time as an orderly at the local VA where he often assisted the orthopedic surgery residents.  Upon graduation in 1965 college graduates were prime material for the draft for the war.  Ed wasted no time in applying and was promptly accepted by the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas.

In the fall of 1965, Ed entered the freshman class and found that his premed education at Ohio State was excellent preparation for medical school.  He was especially interested and excelled in anatomy and pathology.  It was during that time the he married Sandy Baumberger an RN who had a 5-year RN degree in Public Health also from Ohio State.   They married in 1966 and the following year their eldest son Scott was born at the osteopathic hospital affiliated with the school in Kansas City.  Upon graduation in 1969 the young family moved back to Dayton where Ed served his rotating internship at the Grandview Hospital.  Ed’s dream since his early days as an orderly was to be an orthopedic surgeon.  There were eighteen interns in his class and four were vying for the single highly coveted spot in the orthopedic residency program.  Upon completion of his internship he learned that twelve of his fellow interns were drafted into the army as doctors. Happily he was selected for the residency!   While serving his residency he supplemented the family income by “moonlighting” in the hospital ER.   Like so many ERs it was in the heart of the “knife and gun club” area of Dayton-lots of trauma surgery opportunities.  The final six months of his residency were spent at the Cleveland Clinic where he was trained as a fellow learning cutting edge methods of knee and hip replacement surgeries.   The family also grew during this time with the addition of son Barrett and daughter Wendy.

It had been Ed’s intention to practice in the area where he was born and trained but as the environment became more violent he began to have second thoughts. The clincher was a trip to Los Angeles with a side trip to Oregon.  Both of his sisters were now residing in Oregon and his brother in law John Vessely was a practicing orthopedic surgeon in the Portland area.  He made a visit to Eastmoreland Hospital and had a chance to meet some of the staff and learned that indeed there was an opportunity for a orthopedic surgeon to join an established orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Robert Ho.   While the relationship with Dr. Ho was a brief one he quickly established his own office and in a very short time became very busy.   Except for a two year association with Harry Sirounian, DO Ed practiced solo.  Two weeks before he was to start practice he was invited by Floyd Henry, DO chief of surgery to the surgery committee meeting.  He was introduced to the other surgeons on staff and then the meeting was adjourned so that the doctors could attend a Blazer game.  Dr. Heusch was not invited.  A short time later Dr. Heusch was backing out of a parking space of the hospital when his car was broadsided by large Cadillac sedan also backing out.  The driver was Dr. Henry, who said he was in a hurry to get to the Blazer game and would take care of everything the next day. Ed said that he had driven that car all over Ohio and to the West Coast without a scratch and now look at it!

From the start Ed was involved not only with the many surgeries but also in training the interns and later the residents that rotated through Eastmoreland Hospital.  He devised a test that was taken on the first day of rotation through his service where he determined what the intern’s competencies were and where they needed more work.  He served on virtually every committee and position at the hospital and also on the hospital board.   In each he served with distinction.

At the time his sons were attending school in the West Linn school district.  The boys were interested in football and basketball but no teams were available for them to play.  Ed and another dad undertook to coach the “Little Guys Football and Basketball” grades 3 4 5 and 6 ; teams under auspices of the YMCA.  The two dads coached; Ed coached football with the other dad as his assistant in basketball they traded.   The understanding they had with the school district was that the boys would be integrated into the middle school programs for those sports.  This did not happen so Ed attended school board meetings and made his concerns known.  He was appointed to the budget committee of the board for two years.  Still nothing occurred so he ran for the school board.  On his second try with the support of the teacher’s union he was elected and served on that board for eight years four of which as chairman.  Under his leadership the West Linn School district brought in a trainer, developed training facilities, and chaired a program in the spring that brought coaches in for seminars on Saturdays.  From 1979 to 1999 he served as team physician for the schools as well.  If that weren’t enough he and wife Sandy also hosted a number of young men who were part of the Portland Winterhawks Ice Hockey team.  When daughter Wendy graduated in 1999 he stepped down as team physician.

In 1990 Anthony Cortese, DO a long time member of the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners needed to be replaced and so Ed agreed and took on that responsibility as well.   The first year was extremely difficult, learning the ropes at the BME and still on the School Board in West Linn.  After the first year he was reappointed to the BME  and served for another eight years for a total of nine years.   He was on the investigative committee for most his time there and twice served as chairman of the BME.   It was under his watch that the board hired Kathleen Haley who has had distinguished career administering the board.  Ed also served on the board of the Foundation for Medical Excellence, which has been a wonderful resource for physicians who are facing challenges in their practice of medicine.  

Dr. Heusch has been on the staff and has performed surgeries in many of the local hospitals.   In 1976 he opened a one-day a week clinic in Canby, Oregon to see the patients of Richard Davies, DO.  This arrangement made it unnecessary for Davie’s patients to travel to Portland for orthopedic services.   Ed retired in 2006; his last day was at the Davies clinic in Canby.  Not surprisingly Ed is a skilled woodworker and the homes of his children contain many of his creations.  He has a passion for golf and gets out as much as the weather will permit.

As with other osteopathic physicians in the Portland area the closure of Eastmoreland Hospital was his greatest disappointment.  In his opinion his greatest achievement was the training of so many future osteopathic physicians.   Another source of satisfaction is the career of daughter Wendy Heusch, DO an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder problems now practicing in Puyallup, Washington. His advice to prospective DOs if you choose osteopathic medicine as your career, 
give it your all!


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