Respondent
Mermelstein, Howard
Interview Date
November 15, 1990
Abstract
Howard Mermelstein, a pediatric physician founded a children's hospital while serving in the military in Korea and did research on the subject of treating dehydration in children; birth year, 1924;
[T1S1] a description of objects in his office; his research and work in the field of dehydration in children; 1950, becomes a resident in pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; his call for military service in the Navy that same year; discussion of his service in Korea, pediatric illnesses he treated there; his treatment of children in a Korean orphanage; establishes a children's hospital there with the aid of other physicians; he received a certificate and a Chagall print from the orphanage; marriage in 1951; returns to Naval Air Station in Norfolk, VA for work at Dependents Clinic; is interviewed by the United Nations about his experience in Korea; received a Commendation medal for his work; his work at the Dependents Clinic in Norfolk; his discharge from the service in 1952; begins residency at Children's Hospital; mention of his mentor, Doctor McCluskey of Magee-Women's Hospital; birth of first child; becomes clinical associate-professor of pediatrics; an extensive list of positions he has held with professional and charitable organizations; his children's education, careers and families;
[T1S2] discussion of his family history and genealogy;
[T2S3] recollections of his early life in Ambridge, PA in Beaver County; his father's grocery business; historical information about Ambridge; his birth in Sewickley Hospital; recollections of the depression in Ambridge; mother's work with women's club, providing food for the poor during the depression; early religious training; congregational meetings above the real estate office of Ben Nadler; early education and activities at Ambridge High School; education at the University of Pittsburgh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Pittsburgh Medical School; his internship and term as president of his medical fraternity; his Pediatric residency at Children's Hospital;
[T2S4] his Bar Mitzvah in Ambridge; recollections of attending grandfather's synagogue in McKeesport; his wife's involvement with the organization of the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh; sharing holidays with gentile friends in Ambridge; influence of his high school science teacher, Michael Serene; his sister's education and career; discussion of Jonas Salk, the Sabin vaccination; Salk attends a party at his house; has a photograph made with Salk; training at the Tuberculosis Hospital on Bedford Avenue; obtaining funds for Children's Hospital from the Mellon family; his practice in Oakland;
[T3S5] funding for his education; review of details of his education; recollections of Korea; sharing his war experiences with his grandson; the effect of his military service on his life; more recollections of his Korean experience, the harbor hospital ships; description of Korean prisoner of war camps; discussion of the Dependents Clinic in Norfolk, VA; honeymoon in New York and early married life in Norfolk, VA; location of offices in Pittsburgh; his work with the Well Baby Clinic for the county health department; personal residences in Pittsburgh;
[T3S6] affiliation with Rodef Shalom Temple; his practice in Mt. Lebanon, PA; wife's activities with the National Council of Jewish Women and United Jewish Federation; social life in Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh; discussion of his friendship with a Greek doctor, Costas Papadatas in medical school; reunion with him twenty years later; other friendships; memorable moments in his practice; his partners in medical practice; early medical care; polio before the vaccine; discussion of prenatal care and prenatal surgery; improvements in pediatric medicine; his interest in molecular biology; discussion of sex education, the rise in sexually transmitted diseases; views about sex education in the schools; the AIDS virus; opinions about the need for better health education in schools; hobbies; vacations; yachting;
[T4S7] comparison of Persian Gulf War of 1991 to Korean War; explanation of a recent strain of influenza; club membership; review of influences, colleagues and medical partners; importance of immunization of school children; advances in antibiotics; hopes for the future; views about abuse in Jewish families, daycare for children; childraising.
Subjects
Ambridge (Pa.); Korean War, 1950-1953; Medicine--Research; Poliomyelitis vaccine--Research; Physicians; Medicine; Pediatrics; Pediatricians; Salk, Jonas
Birth Date
1924
Profession
Pediatrician
Work
University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Pittsburgh Pediatric Society, Magee-Women's Hospital; Children's Hospital
Residence
Squirell Hill; Ambridge, PA; McKeesport, PA
Length (hours)
4
Interviewer1
Harrison, Mary
Interviewer2
Dinman, Gabrielle
Collateral Materials
Box 104 FF 28
Identifier
ais196440.306
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh