Friday, March 17, 2017

Medical Researcher and Teacher Thomas C. Galloway, M.D. [otd 03/17]

Dr. Galloway.
University of Idaho Archives.
Eminent physician Thomas C. Galloway was born March 17, 1886 in Boise. As a researcher at the Northwestern University Medical School, Galloway made award-winning discoveries in the symptomatic treatment of "bulbar" poliomyelitis, one of the most dreaded diseases of the Twentieth Century.

His father, of the same name, was among a handful of whites who first settled along the Weiser River in 1863 [blog, June 6]. The elder Thomas married in 1868 and began raising a family. After about fifteen years, Galloway owned a huge herd of horses. However, his oldest children were also approaching high school age, and he and wife Mary felt their local educational opportunities were limited.

Father Tom sold his horses, and one of two ranches they then owned, and moved the family to Boise City. There, he bought a home as well as much other real estate. It was also there that Thomas, Junior, was born. The Galloways remained in Boise until the older children had completed high school, then moved back to Weiser in 1896-1899.

Thomas, Junior, arrived at the University of Idaho campus at a time of substantial growth. During that general period, contractors completed a new women's dormitory, a gymnasium, and a new science hall. Of course, he would have also been on campus when fire destroyed the Administration Building at the end of March 1906: He graduated that spring.

He taught chemistry at the University for a year and then moved on to the University of Chicago. The Idaho Statesman proudly reported (May 19, 1911) that Galloway was “winning high honors in scholastic and athletic lines” there. As a junior at the University's Rush Medical College, he had already published a paper in the American Journal of Physiology. Moreover, having taken up wrestling for exercise, he had become a two-time wresting champion at the school.

Galloway earned a medical degree from Rush Medical College in 1912. He spent the rest of his life in the Chicago area, although we're told that, "At his ranch in Idaho, Dr. Galloway hosted family reunions each summer for fifty years."

Thomas spent over a half century affiliated with the Evanston Hospital, and taught for many years at two other area hospitals and the Northwestern University Medical School. Galloway eventually served as Director of the Medical School. He authored or co-authored numerous medical publications.

His most noted discovery involved the use of tracheotomy to treat "bulbar" poliomyelitis. This polio variant causes severe breathing difficulties even before paralysis impacts the diaphragm and lungs.
Iron lung ward for treatment of polio victims, ca. 1953.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Galloway carefully studied the risks associated with the tracheal operation versus the known breathing problems, including fatal respiratory arrest. His 94-page monograph describes the results and preferred procedure in great detail. His work is credited with saving hundreds of lives, and is still valid today, although polio vaccines have reduced the disease from a widespread, frightening scourge to a relatively uncommon pathology.

Dr. Galloway received many awards: An Honorary Doctor of Science degree from UI, recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus by Rush Medical College, and the James E. Newcomb Award from the American Laryngological Association. Galloway passed away in February 1977.
References: Richard J. Beck, Famous Idahoans, Williams Printing, (© Richard J. Beck, 1989).
Thomas C. Galloway, Treatment of Respiratory Emergencies including Bulbar Poliomyelitis, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, UK (1953).
Rafe Gibbs, Beacon for Mountain and Plain: Story of the University of Idaho, The Caxton Printers, CaIdwell (© 1962, Regents of the University of Idaho).
Frank Harris, "History of Washington County and Adams County," Weiser Signal (1940s).

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