Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Michael Reese Hospital – Physicians

Excerpts from the book All Our Lives: A Centennial History of Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, 1881-1981, Sarah Gordon, ed

Dr. Michael Manheimer
Dr. Michael Mannheimer, 1844–1891, was a member of the Hospital Committee of the United Hebrew Relief Association and one of two admitting physicians at the hospital when it opened. All patients had to have the signature of an admitting physician before entering the wards. Dr. Mannheimer was in the Department of Medicine. (Reform Advocate/Darcie Cohen Fohrman)
Dr. Ernst Schmidt
Dr. Ernst Schmidt was the other admitting physician at Michael Reese during the 1880s. Like Dr. Mannheimer, Dr. Schmidt also served as an administrator on the Hospital Committee. He was an important figure in the Department of Surgery. (Reform Advocate/Darcie Cohen Fohrman)


In 1899, the West Side Dispensary at Clinton and Judd Streets was closed and
a new, larger building was dedicated at the corner of Maxwell and Morgan Streets.
Participants in the ceremony included Dr. Emil G. Hirsch of the Sinai Congregation,
members of the Hebrew Charities, Dr. Theodore B. Sachs of the dispensary staff,
and Mrs. Emanuel Mandel, who gave money for the new structure.

Dr. Louis Katz
Dr. Louis Katz, 1897–1973, was born in Poland and came to the US when he was three. He received an MD from Western Reserve University in 1921. In 1930, he came to Michael Reese as director of the hospital’s newly formed Department of Cardiovascular Research. Dr. Katz specialized in studies of atherosclerosis and heart failure, and he made contributions to the technique of electrocardiographic interpretation. He attracted a number of other cardiologists to Reese, including Drs. Alfred and Ruth Pick, and Dr. Richard Lagendorf. By the time of his death, Dr. Katz was a world-famous figure in his field.
Dr. Heinrich Necheles
Dr. Heinrich Necheles, 1897–1979, received his MD and PhD from the University of Hamburg and came to Michael Reese from Peking Union Medical College where he was teaching. He directed the Department of Gastrointestinal Research beginning in 1932. Dr. Necheles designed one of the first dialysis machines in the world and did extensive research into the cause of ulcers.

Dr. Rachmiel Levine was born in 1910 in Zaleszczuki, Poland, and received his MD
from McGill University in Toronto, Canada. He came directly from McGill to Michael Reese
Hospital in 1936, where he served as research fellow, assistant director, and finally director
of the Department of Medicine and Endocrine Research. His remarkable work on the action
of insulin in the body’s chemistry led to the foundation of the “gatekeeper” theory, which
recognizes the function of insulin in regulating the human body’s use of sugar. The theory
has led to new ways of preventing death due to diabetes. This picture of Dr. Levine was taken in 1950.

Dr. Rachmiel Levine

Dr. Irving Sein
Dr. Michael Leventhal

Dr. Irving Stein (left), 1887–1976, graduated from Rush Medical College in 1912 and joined Reese’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 1925 he met Dr. Michael Leventhal (right), 1901–1971, who had completed his obstetrics-gynecology internship at Reese that year. Dr. Leventhal joined the department, and the two doctors began doing research together. Ten years later they published a paper describing one of the most common causes of infertility in women, and subsequently suggested a technique for correcting what came to be called the Stein-Leventhal syndrome.

Dr. Samuel Soskin

Dr. Samuel Soskin, born in 1904, received his MD at the University of Toronto
and came to Michael Reese in 1929 to direct research in the Department of
Metabolic and Endocrine Research. In 1943 he became director of the Medical
Research Institute as a whole and remained there until 1952. His work at Reese
set the stage for an understanding of the causes and treatment of diabetes.
(Dr. Samuel Soskin)

Dr. Sidney O. Levinson, born in 1904, came to Michael Reese in 1931
as assistant director and then director of the Samuel Deutsch Serum Center.
His work was originally devoted to the search for a polio vaccine, which was in fact
developed after World War II but never brought into general use like the Salk and
Sabin vaccines. During the war he focused on the use of blood plasma transfusions for
shock victims as part of a project undertaken by the American Red Cross for wounded soldiers.
Dr. Levin described his memory of Dr. Levinson’s work: “The only research I know that . . .
related to the military effort was in the blood bank. They were seeking blood substitutes, and
I remember that we were experimenting with a gelatin material that could be used
as a blood expander. We were using it in the emergency room. . . . I know that we would
give patients this gelatin and keep records of their blood pressure, temperature, and so forth.”

Dr. Sidney O. Levinson
Dr. Karl Singer

Dr. Karl Singer, 1902–1956, founded and directed the Department of Hematology after World War II.
Among Dr. Singer’s staff were his wife, Dr. Lily Singer, and Dr. Emil Schwarz. All three had received
MDs from the University of Vienna and left for the safety of the United States during the fascist
terror. Dr. Singer’s group worked on problems associated with transfusions and the clotting of blood.
They also pioneered in the study of sickle blood cells. Dr. Bertram Levin recalled the atmosphere in
the early years of this new research department: “Karl, I know, was really one of the greats of the time.
He was a great researcher, teacher, clinician, and a rather firm boss, very demanding, very Prussian. But
he also put out. He didn’t ask of anybody else more or a greater effort than he himself extended. His
wife, Lily, was his chief tech, his statistician, his illustrator, mathematician, and it was Karl and Lily
shouting at each other across the lab that I remember so fondly. ‘L-I-L-Y. . . . YES K-A-R-L.’ How is this
coming? How is that coming? And they always brought their dog, who was the only member of their
family to work with them every day.” (Millie Smith)

Dr. Emil Schwarz, 1865–1955, escaped from Vienna in 1938 and at the age of 73
left a career in medicine behind him to undertake research in hematology. In
recognition of his achievements he was elected an honorary member of the
International Society of Hematology in 1952. (Millie Smith)

Dr.Emil Schwarz

Dr. Ruth Pick
Dr. Ruth Pick of the Cardiovascular Institute shares an informal moment in the laboratory with Dr. Louis Katz, the Institute’s founding director. Dr. Pick, born in 1913, received her MD from German University, Prague, and came to Reese with her husband in 1949. She began her research career as an assistant under Dr. Jeremiah Stamler. They helped establish the relationship between high-cholesterol diets and heart disease. By 1958 Dr. Pick had succeeded Dr. Stamler as director of this project. Her latest research involved studying the use of aspirin as a deterrent to heart disease.
Dr. Clarence Cohn
Dr. Clarence Cohn, 1910–1971, received his MD from Jefferson Medical College in 1938 and was for many years the director of the Department of Biochemistry at Reese. He and his coworkers were interested in the relationship between diet and disease. Working with mice, Dr. Cohn’s department demonstrated that the pattern of eating three meals a day is probably culturally determined and not necessarily the healthiest one, either for mice or for humans.

Dr. Jeremiah Stamler

Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, born in 1919, received his MD from the State University of New York.
Dr. Stamler’s work with laboratory chickens led to the conclusion that high-cholesterol diets
resulted in symptoms of arteriosclerosis in chickens and probably in men. The research project
had initially been under the direction of Dr. Dehorah Dauber, who was killed in a car accident.

Dr. Richard Lagendorf
Dr. Richard Langendorf, born in 1908, received his MD from German University, Prague, in 1932. He came to the Cardiovascular Institute In 1939. Dr. Langendorf worked with Dr. Alfred Pick on the interpretation of complex heartbeats. Like many doctors in research, Dr. Langendorf considers education to be central to his life’s work. One of his achievements, with Dr. Pick, has been a postgraduate course given to physicians each year from 1954 onward on The Interpretation of Complex Arrhythmias. This picture was taken at a cardiological congress at Reese in the early 1950s. Dr. Langendorf is presently a senior consultant at the Institute.
Dr. Alfred Pick
Dr. Alfred Pick, born in 1907, received his MD from German University, Prague, in 1932. Dr. Pick came to the Cardiovascular Institute as a specialist in complex arrhythmia interpretation. He and Dr. Langendorf have collaborated throughout their lives, both in Europe and the United States. Their most recent work is Interpretation of Complex Arrhythmias. This picture of Dr. Pick at the blackboard was taken at a cardiological conference in the early 1950s. Dr. Pick is now a senior consultant at the Institute.

Related articles

Michael Reese Hospital – Beginnings
Michael Reese Hospital – Neighborhood and patients
Michael Reese Hospital – Nurses, interns, and residents
Michael Reese Hospital – Pediatrics
Michael Reese Archive: Comments from our readers

Fall 2013



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