Former Director of Pharmacy
PRESCRIPTION FOR CHANGE
I became interested in pharmacy while growing up in Pennsylvania working in my Dad's drug store. After graduating from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, I applied for a commission in the Navy. The Navy turned me down because of colorblindness, but I was apparently good enough for the Army! I really became interested in hospital work after I was assigned to the hospital pharmacy at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina and later a MASH Hospital in Korea, after the war.
A couple years after my discharge, I was hired as Assistant Director of Pharmacy at the Hospital Center. Within a year, I was promoted to Director, a position I held for the next 36 years.
What a difference between then and now! When I started, the Hospital Center's pharmacy looked like an Upjohn warehouse; drug salesmen (they were all males in those days) were allowed to write their own orders. Needless to say, we changed that practice! Back then, pharmacy services were centralized - quite a challenge in a 900-bed hospital - and the pharmacy was closed between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. Commonly used medications were stocked on the patient care units in a locked storage unit called the Brewer Machine. Intravenous admixtures were prepared by nurses on the patient care unit, without benefit of an aseptic environment.
Hospital pharmacies everywhere needed to make some changes, and I'm proud to say MedStar Washington Hospital Center was ahead of the curve. We were the first hospital in the area to establish a 24-hour pharmacy service and also the first to develop a round-the-clock centralized intravenous admixture program. In 1975, we were also one of the first in the area to hire a Doctor of Pharmacy - Jay Barbaccia, Pharm.D., now Director of Pharmacy - specifically to monitor antibiotic usage. This led to the development of a clinical program, decentralized pharmacy services, a drug information center and a residency program - a lot of progress since the earlier days.
Since retiring, my wife Gene - a former Hospital Center nurse - and I live in Bethany Beach. But we'll always have fond memories of our days at the hospital.
Many years ago I took some zinc peroxide to the Laboratory to be activated by placing it in an oven. Several hours later when I returned to the Laboratory I was met by an irate employee, Macon Williams. Macon had several things to tell me. The first was that his lasagna lunch was in the same oven in which I had placed the zinc peroxide. The second thing he said was that when the zinc peroxide exploded it splattered his lasagna throughout the lab. Macon did not talk to me for a year. Twenty-five or so years later, Macon retired and I presented him with a very large homemade lasagna.
Another time, probably around the late 70s, Washington was hit by a huge blizzard that practically brought the city to a standstill. Coincidentally, farmers (with their tractors) from all over the country were in town protesting something or other. Dick Loughery, the hospital's administrator, persuaded some of them to come by and plow the parking lots when they weren't picketing. Pretty creative solution, I think.
Now, I volunteer every weekday morning at the Delaware Department of Mental Health, where I interact with eight or 10 severely mentally and physically deficient residents, just to let them know someone cares. When Gene and I have nothing else to do we always have 12 grandchildren we can call upon to liven things up.