A bladder syringe, tweezers, scissors, and multiple types of forceps are among the surgical tools which belonged to Dr. Joseph E. Rall, Deputy Director of Intramural Research for the NIH from 1983-1991. Dr. Rall arrived at the NIH in 1955 to begin the Clinical Endocrinology branch at NIAMS, and served as its Scientific Director for over 20 years. These instruments date back to his medical training in the 1940s.
Dr. Nina Starr Braunwald led the first surgery to replace a human mitral heart valve in 1960, at the age of 32. She was among the first women to train as a surgeon at Bellevue Hospital, and was the first woman to be certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Here, Braunwald holds a test chamber containing an artificial heart valve which she designed.
NIH played an important role in heart valve replacement surgery designing valves, evaluating the designs of others, and setting standards of patient care. This teaching model of an Omniscience artificial mitral heart valve consists of a single-piece titanium ring with a hinge, a flat titanium disc that rotates on the hinge, and an outer Teflon ring coated in polyester knit fabric. It was approved by the FDA in 1985, but was tested at the NIH for some years prior.
A collapsible stent like this was used by Dr. Keith Horvath, NHLBI, to help develop a real-time MRI-guided robotic surgical procedure for heart valve replacement. In this procedure, a catheter is used to guide the collapsed stent, attached to the replacement valve, to the correct spot. A balloon then inflates the stent and implants the valve. This surgical method is being tested in swine before FDA approval.
This Krasnogvardeets (Red Guardian) UTL-70 Surgical Stapler was designed in the USSR to be used in pulmonary surgery. The Karsnogvardeets factory has been producing surgical implements since 1721, and began producing implements for mechanical wound suturing after WWII.
Dr. Nikolai N. Trapeznikov of the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Oncology gave this surgical stapler, among a selection of others, to NCI Clinical Director Dr. Alfred Ketcham during his trip to Moscow as part of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Joint Subcommittee on Oncology in 1973. As Dr. Ketcham found that they were not useful to NCI scientists, they were donated to the Stetten Museum in pristine condition.
Dr. Harvey J. Alter, winner of the 2000 Lasker Award, put together this phlebotomy kit in the early 1970s to aid in collecting samples for his study on the causes of post-transfusion hepatitis. While the kit contains vacutainers, needles, syringes, alcohol swabs, and an ammonia capsule in case the patient became faint, it does not contain gloves—at the time, gloves were not routinely used during blood draws.
Apparently working in our warehouse is a lot of fun! We thank Jane Lyons for her help this summer organizing, moving boxes and equipment, and dismantling exhibits. The NIH Stetten Museum wishes her luck in her studies at the University of Maryland. We hope to see her and her “inner lumberjack” during her breaks.
If you have an interest in biomedical research and/or history and museums, and you live near Bethesda, Maryland, you too could become a happy volunteer at the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum.
Here’s our contact info: http://history.nih.gov/about/contact.html
A former patient at the Clinical Center, presented NIH Director Elias Zerhouni with this framed poem, “What Matters,” at the 2003 Combined Federal Campaign kick-off at the NIH. The patient was born with osteogenesis imperfecta and spent large parts of her childhood at the Children’s Inn. The ultimate goal of NIH’s medical research is to impact the health of people everywhere.