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Letters to the Editor  |   June 2012
Thanks but No Thanks: How Denial of Osteopathic Service in the World Wars Shaped the Profession
Author Affiliations
  • Jon L. Schriner, DO
    Flushing, Michigan
Article Information
Medical Education / Being a DO
Letters to the Editor   |   June 2012
Thanks but No Thanks: How Denial of Osteopathic Service in the World Wars Shaped the Profession
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2012, Vol. 112, 384-385. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2012.112.6.384
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2012, Vol. 112, 384-385. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2012.112.6.384
To the Editor: 
As I read the story of the history of the osteopathic medical profession during and after the Second World War in the February issue of JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (Silver SA. “Thanks, but no thanks: how denial of osteopathic service in World War I and World War II shaped the profession.” 2012;112[2]:93-97), I reflected on 2 very important but forgotten players in that history. Before I share my memories, first let me say that I am an osteopathic physician (ie, DO) mostly because of them—I was rescued from an allopathic career at the University of Iowa by their influence. 
The first individual was my godfather, Harold (Jefferson) Davis Hutt, DO, who graduated from Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery in 1933 and started practice in Holly, Michigan. Harold became the president of the Michigan Osteopathic Association in I believe the mid-1940s. His wife, Thelma, was my mother's college classmate and friend at what is now Eastern Michigan University, where I also graduated in 1959. Like Harold, I too graduated from Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery in 1963. The second and most influential person to me was Thomas Edmund Dewey, who was a lawyer from Owosso, Michigan. He married Harold's sister Frances, who was also my mother's roommate in college. In addition to having a profound effect on my life, these individuals affected the lives of many others, including the whole osteopathic medical profession. 
Dewey became attorney general of New York State. During his service, he fought and convicted many notorious mobsters, including Charlie “Lucky” Luciano. Dewey was elected governor of New York, and in 1944, the Republican Party ran him against Franklin D. Roosevelt for president of the United States. Dewey knew, as did many insiders, that Roosevelt was near death and that the American government had broken the Japanese secret codes, but he used neither in his campaign. Dewey lost that election, but in 1948, he again ran for president against Harry S. Truman. In that famous election, Dewey won—until the next morning, when the votes showed that Truman had managed to pull off the election. Had Dewey won, Harold Hutt, DO, would have been the president's personal physician. 
Dewey continued to be a leader in the Republican Party, and he recruited Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president in 1952 and Richard Nixon later. Dewey remained active in the party until his death in 1970. His sons John and Tom continue their father's involvement. Dewey had a roll in the recruitment of Robert McNamara, a Republican and defense secretary who also was from Michigan. McNamara's ties to Dewey and Michigan probably influenced his decision to instruct the Armed Forces to accept DOs into service in Vietnam. 
In the early 1960s, I carried on the political tradition by joining a kitchen cabinet formed by Earl Congdon, DO, and several other colleagues, including J. Vincent Murphy, DO, and Al Silverton, DO. Together we lobbied for an osteopathic medical school at Michigan State University. Genesee County, Michigan, is largely democratic, and I had Sen Jerry Dunn and Speaker of the House of Representatives Bobby Crim—both Democrats—as patients. (Earl made me a Democrat.) As a result of our lobbying, we got a DO school in Michigan. The trade-off was that Michigan State University would have an allopathic medical school as well. 
During all of these years, I believe that I have influenced more than 30 students to become physicians, most of whom became DOs. I am still politically active to carry on the heritage given me, with Sen John J. Gleason of Michigan, whose brother Tim became an osteopathic anesthesiologist, and many other politicians. 
The history of osteopathic medicine is replete with individuals who have had an impact on the profession. The JAOA article on the wartime involvement of DOs prompted me to add this little bit of additional history to the mix.