By Hugh A. Edmondson, M.D.
The Los Angeles Pathological Society, Inc. was organized in 1928 by Doctors Newton Evans, Roy W. Hammack, B.F. Sturtevant, C.W. Bonynge, V.L. Andrews and George D. Maner. The first meeting was held at the Los Angeles County Hospital on February 9, 1929, under the chairmanship of Dr. Evans who was pathologist of that hospital. Informal meetings were held at regular intervals from then until January 12, 1932, when the society petitioned the Los Angeles County Medical Association to be recognized as a scientific section of that body. This request was signed by Dr. E.M. Hall and Dr. George D. Maner, president and secretary, respectively, of the Society. The request was granted by the Los Angeles County Medical Association on February 1, 1932. The Society, now in its sixty-second year, owes its organization principally to Dr. Evans.
The history of pathology was a specialty in the County goes back much further than 1928. The pioneer in this field was Dr. Stanley P. Black (1859-1921), who opened the first pathology laboratory in Los Angeles in 1897. Dr. Black for many years was the only tissue pathologist in the County. In addition, bacteriology and other procedures were done in his laboratory. In the performance of the first laparotomies, which not infrequently were done upon the kitchen table in the home, Dr. Black was often present and responsible for the sterilization of the table, the instruments and other necessities. Later, as surgery was done in operating rooms in hospitals, he was the first to act as pathology consultant during surgery. In addition to these things, he also was health officer in Pasadena for sixteen years and pathologist at the Pasadena Hospital. He was professor of pathology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Medial Department, the University of Southern California. Dr. Ethel Leonard was an instructor in pathology and bacteriology at the same time. Dr. Mona Bettin became associated with Dr. Black in 1910, assisting him both in the practice of pathology and in teaching at the University of Southern California. Dr. Bettin remained in practice until 1965.
In 1911, Dr. Walter Brem came to Los Angeles and opened a clinical laboratory. He was joined during the next year by his colleague, Dr. Herman Zeiler. About this time, stimulated by the American Hospital Association, for the first time hospitals in Los Angeles County established pathology laboratories. This was done by four hospitals. Drs. Brem and Zeiler were at the Hospital of the Good Samaritan, Dr. C.W.Bonynge at St. Vincent's, Dr. Stanley P. Black at Pasadena Hospital and Dr. A.T. Charlton at the Los Angeles County Hospital.
Dr. Brem, according to good authority, gave the first blood transfusion in the County. Dr. Charles W. Bonynge did the first Wassermann test. The first coroner's autopsy was performed May 14, 1888 by E.I. Conn on a Chinese who had died as a result of gunshot wounds.
Since it was organized in 1928, the Pathological Society has held both formal meetings, with the presentation of papers, and informal meetings at various hospitals and teaching institutions throughout the county. It has been active in bettering the training of technologists and in the teaching of pathology. Approximately one-third of the present membership are faculty members of the various medical schools in Southern California. Although it is an independent organization, many of its members have participated to an unusual extent in the administration of the state and national pathology organizations and have contributed as well to their scientific programs. The late Dr. Algin G. Fiord was president of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASAP) in 1933-1934 and an examiner for the American Board of Pathology. Dr. Theodore J. Curfew was president of the ASAP in 1947-1948. The late Dr. Roy W. Hammack served on several committees of the ASAP.
In the period after World War II, the Society grew rapidly as many pathologists who had been stationed in Southern California decided to remain or later returned to the area. At the same time, more trained pathologists were required because of the burgeoning population and increase in the number of hospitals. In 1949, the name of LACMA and the Society remained as the official section of the Association until 1960, when a new and independent organization was formed that retained the mane of the Society but was open only to reputable pathologists licensed to practice in California. The members of the organization are liable for dues bide by the constitution and bylaws, otherwise they are subject to disciplinary measures. The Society was incorporated in 1970 and its name was officially changed to Los Angeles Society of Pathologists, Inc. A Board of Trustees was formed and a corporate seal was approved.
A second organization was retained as the Section of Pathology of LACMA. Membership in this organization is open to anyone who declares to be a pathologist and no dues can be levied. The officers of this Section are the same as the officers of the Society but an Executive Committee of four represent the Section along with a similar number from the Society. About 1960, the constitution and bylaws of the section were changed somewhat, submitted to the Council of LACMA and approved. This Section has had relatively little business to transact since its formation.
The first Annual Memorial Lecture of the Society was given on December 13, 1966, by Emmerich von Hamm, M.D., Professor of Pathology at Ohio State University. The Annual Lecture was dedicated to the pioneers of pathology in Los Angeles County, especially those who were instrumental in the founding of the Society. At the first lecture, the contributions of Drs. Newton G. Evans, Roy W. Hammack, Ernest M. Hall and Algin G. Fiord were recalled by those who had known these esteemed pathologists. Later, upon the death of Dr. George Kypridakis, who had served as the Society's Secretary/Treasurer for 17 years, the Board of Directors voted to rename this annual event, the George Kypridakis Annual Lecture.
September 12, 1967 saw another innovation, that of the Resident Symposium. This symposium has already achieved success and has aroused a wide interest in research a month the pathology residents in the area.
The Society, since its inception, has grown steadily and now numbers some 350 members. The tempo of the organization was set by its founders. The accomplishments of its members, past and present, is a source of pride to all.