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History of Medicine Finding Aids

Ogden C. Bruton Papers 1925-1994
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Biography

Biographical Note

Dr. Ogden Carr Bruton (b. 1908) was born in Mount Gilead, NC. He entered Trinity College (later to become Duke University) at age 16, and graduated from the School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University in the Class of 1933 with honors. All the medical doctors that graduated with Dr. Bruton became outstanding physicians with renowned accomplishments.

Dr. Bruton served three separate tours of duty at Walter Reed Hospital. He went to Europe during World War II briefly and to Tripler General Hospital from 1955-1958 and finally back to Walter Reed for the final time in 1958. He also spent 1946 in private practice in Winston-Salem, NC., where he also acted as a consultant to the Army Surgeon General's Office. During this time he worked on improving care and health conditions offred by the U.S. military for European "war brides" and their babies during their journies to America.

A patient study was first conducted on Joseph S. Holtoner, Jr. and 8-year-old boy in 1951 who Dr. Bruton, Chief of the Pediatric Ward 17, studied for the past 5 years at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. who lacked gamma globulin in human serum. This congenital desease deprives the body of antibodies needed to counter infections. Its discoverery was likened in importance to the discovery of yellow fever by Walter Reed as an epoch-making contribution to medicine. Dr. Bruton started the Pediatric Ward at Walter Reed Army Hospital on the second floor (see color photograph) in the oversize Map Case.

"The disease, also called Bruton's syndrome, a condition existing in children from birth, is one in which gamma globulin is absent in the blood, thereby rendering them unable to destroy harmful bacteria in certain diseases". Dr. Bruton sent a form quiz to all the chiefs of the medical schools in the United States of America where they had a pediatric service if they had a patient with any symbols of agammaglobulinemia. His findings were published in June 1952 "Pediatrics". Also Time magazine featured his outstanding medical discovery in May 18, 1953, and numerous other newspaper articles throughout the United States.