HomeAbout History Section II

Section II

Early Figures

John Clifford Vinson, M.D. | Robert Boyd McIver, M.D.
​Louis McDonald Orr, M.D. | Eugene Clay Shaw, M.D.

vinson-john.jpgJohn Clifford Vinson, M.D., 1884 – 1957

by Russell B. Carson, M.D.

Dr. John Clifford Vinson was the first urologist in Tampa, Florida. Arriving in 1908 he may have been one of the earliest urologists in the state. Dr. Vinson was not only a pioneer in urology in Florida, but he also pursued clinical research and wrote the some of the earliest papers on urological subjects appearing in the Florida Medical Journals.

Dr. Vinson was born in Georgia in 1884. He graduated from the Atlanta Medical School in 1907. After graduating from medical school and serving his internship, he came to Tampa, Florida, in 1908 and began the practice of urology as a specialty.

During the early years there was no sectional meeting for the urologists of the southeastern United States. The late Dr. Jackson of Miami, who was past president of the Southern Medical Association in 1916, urged Dr. Vinson to go before the Board of Directors in an endeavor to establish a urological section. At the next annual meeting the request was considered favorably, and the first meeting of the section was held in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1921. At that time Dr. Vinson presented a paper entitled, “The Use of the Cautery in Acute Epididymitis” with illustrations.

In 1914 Dr. Vinson read a paper before the Florida State Medical Association entitled, “Cystitis a Symptom.” At this meeting Dr. McMurray of Bartow, Florida, openly accused Dr. Vinson of lying before the profession, stating emphatically that it was not possible for a man to look into the bladder.

Dr. Vinson rejoined by stating that any time he wanted to see into a bladder, he would be glad to come to Bartow and demonstrate the same. About two months later Dr. McMurray invited Dr. Vinson over, and the Court House was used as an operating room, where a simple cystoscopy was performed. Fortunately for Dr. Vinson there was a small stone in the bladder which was quite visible through the cystoscope. This stone was demonstrated to the doctors present and there were many converts to the value of cystoscopic urological investigation at this meeting.

(Note: For more on Dr. Vinson and the papers he wrote see Sections I and III.)

mciver,-robert.jpgRobert Boyd McIver, M.D. 1892 – 1979

The History of Urology in North Florida from 1920 – 1970

by Joseph B. Stokes, Jr., M.D.

The first recorded urology practiced in Jacksonville was done in 1920 by Dr. Robert Boyd Mclver. A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, he received his B.A. degree from Wofford College and his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1916 from Jefferson Medical College. Dr. Mclver completed a residency at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia in 1918 and served as a surgeon in the United States Medical Corps with a mobile operating team in France.

After discharge from the military in 1919, Dr. Mclver moved to Jacksonville in 1920 to practice general medicine and urology with his uncle. In 1935 he limited his practice entirely to genitourinary surgery. He was one of the earliest urologists in Florida, along with Dr. Milton Coplan and Dr. E. Clay Shaw in Miami. He developed a preceptor program which evolved into a residency program in urology at the Duval Medical Center and at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville. He was a consulting surgeon in urology at Flagler and East Coast Hospitals in St. Augustine, and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Lake City. In 1948 he founded, with Dr. VanNortwick, Dr. Newman, and Dr. Brown, the Florida Urological Society. A past president of the Florida Medical Association, Dr. Mclver became President of the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association in 1948. Dr. Mclver was a member of the Florida State Board of Health, founded the Jacksonville Blood Bank, and was an outstanding community figure for many years.

In 1965 Dr. Mclver was presented with a Certificate of Merit from the Florida Medical Association for outstanding service to the medical profession.

Dr. Mclver has been described by many as an eminent medical leader with a national reputation as a speaker, teacher, and surgical technician. Visitors and patients came from all over the world to see him and to be under his care. He was a very gregarious and extroverted individual. Dr. Tom Palmer, a retired pediatrician in Jacksonville, described him as “personality plus, and had he been parachuted to earth over darkest Africa, within minutes of landing he would have occupied a position at the chief’s right hand.” Dr. Leo Wachtel, a general surgeon, described Dr. Mclver as being “a real surgical technician who was the kind of doctor” that he wanted to have participate in any surgical care that he might have. Most of the early training in urology was under a preceptor type of arrangement. In fact, Dr. Mclver founded the Mclver Urological Clinic under this principal. He would often give surgical demonstrations. In 1941 he presented a surgical demonstration to the entire SESAUA during its annual convention in Jacksonville.

Dr. Herman Brooks followed Dr. Mclver to Jacksonville in the late 1930’s. Dr. Brooks had trained at the University of Georgia Medical School and in New York City. He would later become chief of urology at St. Luke’s Hospital in Jacksonville. In those early days, both Dr. Mclver and Dr. Brooks owned their own urological equipment. This served both to give them excellent equipment and to also control those individuals who wanted to invade the practice of this specialty. It was in this period of time that Dr. Antonio, a Philippine physician taking a residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, came to Jacksonville as a preceptor under Dr. Mclver. Dr. Antonio later became the president of St. Thomas Medical School in Manila. During these years, the President of the Philippines came to Jacksonville to have surgery by Dr. Mclver. In 1946 Dr. Roger Browning, who was born in northern Louisiana and trained at Louisiana State University and later in Tennessee, came to Jacksonville to go into practice. During my interview with Dr. Browning in December 1996, he stated that it was very difficult to break into the practice of urology during those years as it was controlled by the two chiefs, Dr. Mclver and Dr. Brooks. Dr. Browning said he collected a total of $85 his first month in practice. Dr. Browning spent many years in genitourinary surgical practice. Initially he primarily did office urology, but later contributed to the development of transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and renal tumor surgery.

In the mid 1940’s Dr. Harold Newman, who had trained at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, joined the above physicians and was known as the innovator for the community. He wanted to be the first to pick up those new techniques, which would come down from the training literature that he had read or had learned at meetings. I recall that when I was in residency at Duval Medical Center, Dr. Newman wanted me to do a retropubic prostatectomy with no catheter placement. He had read about this somewhere, so we tried one. The patient went into retention that night, and I sweated putting in a catheter and irrigating the clots. I found at that point that this was probably not a procedure we should be doing!

Dr. Jack Galen trained in New York and came to Jacksonville after WWII. He entered the practice and primarily did office practice with some urological surgery. At the end of WWII Dr. William VanNortwick, who had trained at the University of North Carolina and at Vanderbilt University, came to Jacksonville. He entered the preceptorship and finished the urology training, which he had begun at Watts Hospital in Durham. When he completed his residency, Dr. McIver asked him to join the McIver Clinic. Dr. VanNortwick assumed responsibility for the residency program for many years until it was absorbed by the University of Florida.

Dr. Elijah Thomas Sellers did medical urology and worked in Dr. Mclver’s office for a number of years. Dr. Sellers had been a general practitioner who became interested in urological care. Like other medical urologists he primarily spent his time doing office urology, then encompassing primarily the treatment of venereal diseases, urethritis, and strictures. It was at the point of Dr. Seller’s retirement in 1965 that I joined the McIver Urological Clinic.

In 1947 Dr. John Cowdery began the practice of urology in Jacksonville, after completing his residency at Temple Medical School. Dr. Cowdery’s primary contribution to Jacksonville urology was the advancement of the TURP. Dr. Chester Fort came from Emory University in Atlanta and practiced for two or three years before having a fatal automobile accident. During this time Dr. Larry Smith began the residency program at the Duval Medical Center. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Smith moved to Tallahassee to become the first urologist in that community. In 1957 Dr. Tom Abernathy, who had been a WWII bomber pilot before medical school, joined the urological care in Jacksonville and practiced until the 1980’s. In the late 1940’s Dr. Robert Brown from Statesboro, Georgia, took his residency at Duval Medical Center and then joined the McIver Clinic. He was called into active military duty to go to Korea but returned to Jacksonville after the Korean conflict to become active in all aspects of medical care. He was very concerned with the hospital organizations, in particular St. Vincent’s Medical Center. Dr. Brown’s contribution, until his death in 1976, centered around his kind, gentle manner and his ability to understand the situations as they occurred. Dr. William Hutchinson, a general practitioner in New Jersey, came to Jacksonville and took his residency in the late 1950’s. He joined the McIver Clinic in 1959, the third partner in the group at that time. Dr. Hutchinson’s primary contribution to urology was the development of the ureterovesicoplasty and the promotion of pediatric urology.

I joined the McIver Clinic as the fourth partner in 1965. I had come to Jacksonville in 1961 after getting out of the Navy. I trained at Bowman Gray Medical School and Grady Hospital in Atlanta before finishing my residency at the Duval Medical Center. The year that I came, Dr. Ron Eckels, a Jacksonville native who had trained at the University of Miami, came and started to practice in Jacksonville’s south side with Dr. Harold Newman. Simultaneously, Dr. Norman Leffler, who trained at the Brooklyn VA Hospital in New York, entered practice on the south side of Jacksonville after spending military time in the Air Force. Dr. Walter Mingledorff, who trained in the residency program at the Medical College of Georgia, came in 1966 to become the staff urologist with the Riverside Clinic, practicing almost exclusively at Riverside Hospital until his demise in the early 1990’s. Dr. Jaroslavj (Jerry) Jilek, a native of Czechoslovakia, spent time in Canada before coming to Jacksonville in 1969 for his residency and started his practice in the early 1970’s. Dr. Juan P. Roman, a Cuban refugee in the early 1960’s, took his residency at Duval Medical Center and practiced after 1967 for many years at Jacksonville Beaches until his death.

In my conversation with Dr. Browning, he related that there were two or three urologists who trained in New York and came to Jacksonville sometime in the ‘20’s or ‘30’s and practiced in the Greenleaf building, but did no surgical procedures. Dr. Browning could not remember their names, but believed they could have included Dr. R. W. Blackman, who was a member of the Duval County Medical Society in the 1920’s, and/ or Dr. Burfred Fred Woolfly, who was in the Medical Society in the 1930’s. These doctors were listed as urologists.

The residency program at the Duval Medical Center (which later became University Medical Center) was managed primarily by Dr. William VanNortwick after Dr. Mclver’s retirement in 1959. Dr. VanNortwick continued overseeing this program until the late 1970’s. It was taken over by Dr. Charles Lewis (whose son Richard now practices with the Mclver Clinic), a retired Navy Captain who trained in Urology in San Diego. The residency program was finally transferred to the care of the University of Florida, College of Medicine and totally dissolved in 1985. The later community urologists, Drs. VanNortwick, Brown, Hutchinson, Stokes, Galen, Eckels, Newman, Browning, Leffler, Jack Sapolsky, Jim Burt, Charles Lewis, and Morteza Yavari had the primary responsibility for teaching the residents.

In the half century from 1920 to 1970, many changes were evident in the urological care of patients in northeast Florida. A urology service was developed in each of the hospitals, and urologists took a leading and active part in the leadership of all. Urological care advanced from being primarily the care of venereal disease, stones, and catheters to specialized kidney and prostate surgery, ureterovesicoplasties, and other plastic procedures, nephrolithotomies, prostatectomies, cystectomies, ileal conduits, and many other super-specialized procedures. The approximately forty urologists practicing in northeast Florida in 1997 can look back to a great heritage that has been handed down to them by the above-named physicians.

orr-louis.jpgLouis McDonald Orr, M.D.

By Ernest Costantino, Jr., M.D.

Louis McDonald Orr, M.D. began his private practice in Orlando, Florida, in February 1927 and quickly built a distinguished reputation in the practice of Urology. He dominated urology in central Florida for two decades and was the preceptor who trained many of our state's early urologists including Fred Turner, M.D. of Orlando and Russell B. Carson, M.D. of Fort Lauderdale.

Dr. Orr received his Bachelor of Science degree from Emory College in 1922 and his medical degree from Emory University, Medical School in 1924, where he graduated among the top five in his class. In 1926, after an internship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Dr. Orr served as a resident in urology and general surgery at the old Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Orr wrote more than 50 published scientific papers. His special interest in nuclear medicine earned him an appointment to the consulting staff of the Institute of Nuclear Studies, Medical Division, at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. For many years he was a consultant in urology and director of postgraduate training at Orange Memorial Hospital in Orlando.

The generosity of Dr. Orr and his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Brown Orr, made possible the establishment of the first blood bank service in Florida. When this blood bank opened in 1938, it was only the fourth in the nation. The Louis M. Orr Foundation for Cancer Research established a radio isotope program in Orange Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Orr made significant contributions to organized medicine and urology though his many years of active participation. He was a founder of the Southeast Branch of the AUA and Secretary-Treasurer from 1938-1941. He was President of the Southeastern Section of the AUA in 1943. Three of his associates from his office, Dr. Russell Carson, Dr. Jim Campbell, and Dr.
Miles Thomley, also, became presidents of the SESAUA. Dr. Orr became the 113th President of the American Medical Association in 1959.

(Note: For more information on Dr. Orr see Section IV.)

Shaw,-E-Clay.jpgEugene Clay Shaw, M.D.

By Congressman Eugene Clay Shaw, Jr.

BORN:August 17, 1896 in Cuba, Alabama
DIED:March 26, 1976

EDUCATION:Howard College, Birmingham, Alabama
   A.B. – 1915
   A.M. – 1916
Johns Hopkins Medical School
   M.D. – 1921

MEDICAL TRAINING:Internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology and residency in Urology Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 1921 – 1925

Chief Resident of Urology at Johns Hopkins Hospital September 1924 – September 1925

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Eugene Clay Shaw was the earliest notable urologist in south Florida and was recognized as the best trained urologist in the State. He advanced the practice of urology in Florida by the skillful application of the excellent training he received at Johns Hopkins Hospital and by his teaching other urologists. A dedicated and unselfish teacher, he practiced and promoted the highest standards of urologic practice.)

Publications by E. Clay Shaw, M.D.

“An Early Case of Carcinoma of Prostate Associated with Benign Hypertrophy.” E. Clay Shaw. Journal of Urology, Vol. XI, 63-73, 1924.

“Gradual Decompression in Chronic Vesical Distension.” E. Clay Shaw and Hugh H. Young. Journal of Urology, Vol. XI, 373-394, 1924.

“Epidural Anaesthesia for Perinea! Prostatectomy.” E. Clay Shaw. Journal of Urology, Vol. XV, 219-265, 1926.

“Report of a New Pathogenic Organism (Corynebacterium Thompsoni) with Description of an Epidemic of Infection of Urinary Fistulae.” E. Clay Shaw and J. H. Hill. Journal of Urology, Vol. XII, 689-713, 1925.“A Study of Elimination of Phenolsulfonphthalein by the Normal and Diseased Kidneys.” E. Clay Shaw. Journal of Urology, Vol. XIII, 575-591, 1925.

“Urethral Diverticula.” Hugh H. Young and E. Clay Shaw. Southern Medical Journal, Vol. XIX, 42-54, 1926.

“The Venous Spaces of the Penis as an Avenue for Transfusion.”
E. Clay Shaw. Journal of the American Medical Association. Vol. 90, 446- 447, 1928.

“Advantages and Dangers of Inlying Ureteral Catheters in Kidney Infections.”
E. Clay Shaw. Southern Medical Journal, Vol. XXI, 889-894.

“Urinary Obstruction from Contracture of the Vesicle Orifice.”
E. Clay Shaw, Journal of the Florida Medical Society, Vol. XIV, 125-126, 1927.

Eugene Clay Shaw was born in 1896 in a small town in Alabama. Upon completion of his education in the local schools, he attended Howard College in Birmingham, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts and his Master’s degrees. After graduation he taught school in Dothan, Alabama, but left school teaching behind after deciding he wanted to become a physician. When Clay Shaw left Dothan to attend Johns Hopkins Medical School, the young teacher hired to replace him was Claude Pepper. Mr. Pepper went on to become famous for his many years of service in the United States Congress.

Upon completion of Johns Hopkins Medical School, Dr. Shaw remained at Johns Hopkins Hospital for his internship and then residency in the field of urology.

He trained under the famous Dr. Hugh Hampton Young, a legend in the urology department at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1897 to 1941. Dr. Shaw was also a life long friend of Dr. Winfield Wentworth Scott, who succeeded him as chief resident and was the author of Urology at Hopki,ns, a Chronicle. While at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Shaw taught urology to other residents, medical students, and nurses. He had many papers published in The Journal of Urology, The Southern Medical Journal and The Journal of the AMA.

The history of Florida is closely linked with Henry Flagler. At the time Mr. Flagler was building his railroad through southern Florida, a doctor was needed to care for construction workers in Miami. In 1895 Flagler advertised for a physician, and Dr. James Jackson, Jr. was selected from the applicants. Some years later Dr. Jackson developed a severe pulmonary infection and was sent to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for treatment. This was before antibiotics had been discovered, and the treatment consisted of Mercurochrome instillations into the lungs, a very difficult procedure. Dr. Shaw was then a house officer and an expert in this technique. He so impressed Dr. Jackson that Dr. Jackson persuaded him to move to Miami upon completion of his residency. In 1925 Dr. Shaw moved to Miami and began the practice of urology at the hospital named for Dr. Jackson, Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Besides Jackson Memorial Hospital, Dr. Shaw was on staff of St. Francis Hospital and Victoria Hospital. He began the urology programs at St. Francis Hospital and Victoria Hospital and was head of their urology departments.
He was active in training all South Florida physicians who were interested in urological surgery. He was especially noted for his skillful utilization of the transvaginal removal of lower ureteral stones and the use of perinea! prostatectomy.

Dr. Shaw was very active in the medical community. He was a member of ,1 , the American College of Surgeons, the American Urological Association, the American Medical Association, the Florida Medical Association and the Dade County Medical Association. During this era Dr. Bascom Palmer, the opthamologist for whom the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is named, was active and among those talented physicians bringing Miami’s emerging medical community to prominence.

Miami was a thriving town and Dr. Shaw had many famous patients, including the popular entertainers who frequented Miami Beach. Among the better known were Jack Benny and Harry Richman. He also took care of the world-famous financier Bernard Baruch and his son, Barney. “Diamond” Jim Brady used to come to Miami in his private railroad car, and Dr. Shaw would make house calls to the railroad car. “Diamond” Jim made a fortune building railroad cars and later donated money to build the famous Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Shaw’s dedication to the practice of medicine and his willingness to teach others had a great influence on following generations of urological surgeons in this area. The excellence of Miami’s early physicians and their dedication to training others set the framework for the internationally renowned medical community that Miami is today.