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Retrolental Fibroplasia: A Modern Parable
by William A. Silverman, M.D.

Acknowledgments

 

This book would still be waiting for "all the evidence to come in," if it were not for the urging of Dr. Robert W. Winters. For years I was at the water's edge, like Horace's rustic, waiting for the river to flow away before crossing. I was finally forced to take the plunge when Bob Winters asked me to inaugurate the Richard L. Day Lectureship at Columbia University in April 1975, and I could no longer delay recording the story of RLF about which I have talked so often in the past.

Over the years since the hectic period of the 1942-1954 RLF epidemic, I have corresponded with most of the protagonists in the disjointed struggle to overcome our ignorance about this disorder. More recently, I asked a number of the old campaigners to record their second thoughts, to recall unwritten incidents, and to set some parts of the printed record straight. They have been generous with long letters, tape recordings and telephone calls. I acknowledge their responses with warm gratitude, and hasten to absolve them of any responsibility for the way in which I have used the material which they provided. With few exceptions my confederates have agreed to allow me to send their letters and tape recordings to the National Library of Medicine, in Bethesda, Maryland, for deposit; future historians will deal with their contributions more fairly, I am sure, than I have in this account.

The dramatis personae -- physicians, engineers, a nurse, an educator, a bioethicist, and a retired executive-who responded to my letters, from far and wide, are Christian B. Andreasen, Norman Ashton, J. D. Baum, Paul A. Chandler, Stewart H. Clifford, Harry Cullumbine, Richard L. Day, John T. Flynn, Gerald E. Gaull, Samuel Y. Gibbon, James L. Gillon, Harry H. Gordon, James R. Grosholz, Lars J. Gyllensten, Albert Jonsen, V. Everett Kinsey, Berthold Lowenfeld, Lula Lubchenco, Jerold F. Lucey, Rustin McIntosh, John B. McPherson, Arnall Patz, Priscilla Parke, Dale L. Phelps, Algernon B. Reese, and Clement A. Smith. I am indebted to many of these colleagues (and to their publishers) for allowing me to reproduce figures and tables from printed works (specific acknowledgments appear in the Notes and References section).

Librarian Julie Schmidt responded cheerfully to my endless demands on her time and talent; I am very grateful to her. Ellen Hirsch converted my tortured scribbling to a legible typescript with amazing accuracy and with loving devotion. Anne M. Schmid went over the text with a practiced eye and gave much good advice. The photographic wizardry of Steve Hubbard, the artistry of Leona Allison, and the graphic skill of Lee Romero earned my admiration and I thank them for their help.

It is impossible to acknowledge, adequately, the many contributions of my wife to this volume, and, most important to me, she never lost faith.

 


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