Oral History Collection

MAIN ENTRY: Buesseler, Dr. John A.
DATE OF INTERVIEW: July 29 and August 1, 1997
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: Dr. John A. Buesseler, the founding dean of Texas Tech's School of Medicine, recounts the earliest days of the school. He also discusses his lengthy career in ophthalmologic medicine.
Buesseler, John, background
     b. September 30, 1919
     Madison, Wisconsin
     University of Wisconsin, 1937
          Bachelor of Philosophy
     Medical school, University of Wisconsin, 1941
     Work while growing up
          Great Depression
          Mother's work as a cook
          Newspaper boy
          Summer work in pea cannery
          Civil engineering camp
               Learned to drive
          Delivery truck driver
          Greyhound bus driving in medical school
               'Best job ever'
     World War II
          Military takes over medical schools
          Death of friends on troop ship in New York harbor
               German submarine
          Joins army in medical school
          Nation's unpreparedness
               "Amateur military"
          Friend's death (again)
               German submarines (again)
     Completion of medical school, 1944
     Interned at Cleveland City Hospital
     U. S. Army, active duty
          Carlyle Barracks, Pennsylvania
          Training for invasion of Japan
               Field medical training
               Casualty forecasts
               President Harry Truman and A-bomb
               Soldiers' reaction
          The Presidio, San Francisco, California
          Hospital train commander
               Troops' attitudes
               Train's facilities
          Germany, post-World War II
               Sixth Cavalry
TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO: Buesseler, John (continued)
     U. S. Army active duty (continued)
          German, post World War II (continued)
               Military government
               German army and Hitler Youth
               Guerilla warfare
               "Adelais Pirates"
               Cigarettes as money
               Refugees from Baltic States
               Fear of Russia
     Ophthalmology specialization
          Residency at University of Pennsylvania
               Join Pennsylvania
               Air National Guard
     Korean War
          Commander of medical group
          Losses in combat
          Attitudes of servicemen
               Social chasm created by Air Force policies
          Unpreparedness of military
     Private practice opened, 1952
     Madison, Wisconsin
     University of Missouri Medical School, Chief of
     Early interest in ophthalmology
          University of Wisconsin
          University of Missouri Medical School (again)
TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE: Buesseler, John (continued)
     University of Missouri (continued)
          Started department of Ophthalmology
          "A Mighty Oak Has Grown"
     Business degree
     Administrative experience
     Cornell University, 1965-66
          Work on Ph.D. in Business and Public Administration
     Vernon E. Wilson, Dean of Medical School (University of
     Medical School effect on patient base
Indigent care before Medicaid
     Doctors' volunteer at county hospitals
     Costs kept low
Buesseler, John (again)
     Executive Director of Kansas City General Hospital and
          Medical Center
     Founding dean at Texas Tech Medical School
          Suitable background
          Doctors with administrative background
     First successful corneal transplant in Wisconsin
          Educational background
          World War II effects
               Transporting sick and wounded
                    Survival rates
                    Vietnam War
     Never acquired Ph.D., Vietnam interfered
     Dissertation on medivac helicopters in Vietnam
          Research in Vietnam
          Care for Vietnamese civilians
          Aeromedical evacuation best ever in Vietnam
TAPE TWO, SIDE TWO: Buesseler, John (continued)
     Aeromedical evacuation (continued)
          Texas Tech Medical School founding
     Vietnam (again)
          Special Projects Officer Aeromedical evacuation
               First Cavalry Division
               Army Aviation area coverage system
               Field expediency
               Jungle evacuations
               Under fire
               Helicopter pilot becomes medical student at Texas
Texas Tech Medical School founding (again)
     Time pressure
     Competition with University of Texas
     Preston Smith's role
Buesseler, John (again)
     Texas Tech Medical School
          Enabling legislation
               New university created
                    Delwin Jones
                    H. J. 'Doc' Blanchard
                    Bill McAllister
                    Mr. Short
TAPE THREE, SIDE ONE: Texas Tech Medical School (continued)
     Free standing university
     Relationship with Texas Tech
     Preston Smith's account of how school started
     Forced University of Texas to support it
     Additional schools requested
          Veterinary and zoological schools
          Allied health science
     Proposal for seven campuses
          Amarillo, El Paso, Odessa, Wichita Falls, Abilene, San
     Grover Murray on West Texas geographical area
          Division between East and West Texas
               "Buesseler's Line"
     Satellite campuses' success
          'Regional Academic Centers'
     West Texas' size
Buesseler, John (again)
     Chief Executive Officer of Health Sciences Center and
          Executive Vice President of Texas Tech Health 
          Sciences University
Texas Tech Medical School (again)
     Shortage go physicians
     Excess of physicians
     Federal funding
          George Mahon speaks to President Nixon
          Nixon promises $6 million
          George Wallace also promised $6 million
     Building costs - $50 million
          Funds shortage
          Partially completed
TAPE THREE, SIDE TWO: Texas Tech Medical School (continued)
     Funds shortage (continued)
          Finish building later
     Total costs
     State political complications
          Sharpstown Bank problem
          Preston Smith no longer governor
               Legislature threatens to kill the school
          Buesseler, John prepares budget enroute to Vietnam
          Starts first class to prevent killing the school
          Governor Dolph Briscoe limits funds
          Legislature impressed with quick start-up
Buesseler, John
     Impressions of Lubbock, ca, 1970
          "Dry" area
     Faculty hiring for Texas Tech Medical School
          Time a factor
     No faculty first year
     Effects of geography
     Community doctors most of first faculty
          Salem, Dr. Robert--Surgery
          DeShan, Preston--OB/GYN
     Community doctors and Texas Tech Medical School
          Hull, Dr. Brandon
               Fear of competition
               Willingness to teach
                    Little pay
                Student did well on board exams
          Doctor shortages in rural areas
RANGE DATES: 1919-1997
BULK DATES: 1970-1972