Eugene A. Stead Jr. A life of chasing what I did not understand
My Story
The End of a Chapter
Postscripts from Stead's World
My Photos
Mostly My Thoughts
Thoughts from housestaff and friends
Thoughts from Others
For the Curious

From the housestaff - one side of the story ...

Title: Have You Been Up All Night?

Contributor: Alan Ory

During my 46 years of practice in internal medicine and noninvasive cardiology in Walnut Creek, there was never a day that I did not give thanks to Vanderbilt and Duke for giving me the opportunity of studying medicine. They gave me more than just a medical education. They gave me the ethical standards and inspiration to be the best that I could.

During my Junior Residency it was customary to meet Dr. Stead in his office early each morning and present the cases admitted to my assigned service during the preceding twenty-four hours, preferably without notes. One day I had ten admissions, more or less. The next morning, as I was presenting these cases to Dr. Stead, it became apparent that the clinical data was inappropriate when I told Dr. Stead that a 45 year-old man had a past history of irregular menses and amenorrhea for two months. He interrupted and said, "Dr. Ory, have you been up all night?" "Yes, I have, Dr. Stead," I said. He nodded and said, "Dr. Ory, go take a nap, then report back to me."

Title: Marriage in the Duke Chapel

Contributor: Alan Ory

I signed a contract to eat and sleep five days and nights in the hospital, if accepted to the resident staff. One evening in August 1948, Dr, Stead was called to the hospital to consult and supervise the care of a lady who tragically took an overdose of bichloride of mercury in her suicidal quest. After many hours, Dr. Stead left for his home by way of a darkened Out Patient Department and I followed him, very tense in not knowing how to adequately express myself. I was fearful that I would jeopardize or compromise my contract. When I was alongside Dr. Stead in the darkened OPD I asked if I might talk with him for a moment. The moment extended into a 45 to 50 minute conference, the result of which has lasted 55 years. I told Dr. Stead that I was in love with a girl named Lee, and that I wanted to get married. He asked many questions about Lee and if I understood the responsibilities.

He then asked, "Have you asked Lee to marry you?" "No," I said. He said, "Don't you think you should ask her first?" By then the lump in my throat had grown to boulder size. His clinical acumen easily recognized my total incapacity to express myself. Dr. Stead said, "Alan, I've never seen any difference in a good married or single resident." I could see even in the darkness of the OPD a trace of the famous Stead smile appearing as he continued, "Just remember, you will be expected to eat and sleep five days and nights per week in the hospital."

I called Lee the next day and proposed. I had already inquired about the availability of the Duke Chapel. Since it was available on the third of September, 1948, and I was not on call during the holiday, Lee and I were married in the Chapel on Saturday and I was back at work on Monday. I will never forget that Dr. and Mrs. Put Pryor gave Lee and me a gracious wedding reception and Paul Fillmore stood up as my "best man." Dr. and Mrs. Stead attended our wedding.

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