George Crile Sr., Charles Hoover and John Phillips

George Washington Crile, Sr. (1864-1943)

Crile is best known today as the principal founder of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. In his own time Dr. Crile was an internationally respected surgeon, who was making strides forward in understanding surgical shock. He perfected an operation for goiter and thyroid disease and promoted the monitoring of blood pressure during surgery.

Dr. Crile is sometimes incorrectly credited with the first successful human blood transfusion because he did devise methods of transfusion (1905) and pioneered its use in surgery. Crile worked under Frank Weed (a protégé of Gustav Weber) who specialized in railway and industrial accidents. This spawned Crile's interest in the affects of shock and trauma on the outcome of surgical procedures, and led to his landmark work Blood Pressure in Surgery (1903).

Dr. Crile came from modest background, growing up on a farm near the village of Chili, Ohio (close to Zanesville). He received his B.A. from Ohio Northern University (1895), and his M.D. from Wooster Medical School (1887). He was a founding member of the American College of Surgery and served as the organization's second president in 1906-1907.

Crile served as a surgeon in the military in the Spanish American War and also in World War I, rising to the rank of General. Dr. Crile established the first detachment of the American Expeditionary and was put in charge of research for the AEF. Crile's cousin, Dr.William Lower joined the Unit as Commanding Officer. Dr. Fred Bunts also joined the unit. After the War in 1921, these three surgeons and Dr. John Phillips formed a group practice that was organized as a non-profit corporation known as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Military experiences convinced these surgeons of the value of grouping of specialties together in one medical facility.

Grace McBride and George Crile were married on February 7th, 1900. She was the sister of Criles golf partner, Herbert Mcbride and her father was president of the Cleveland Park Board. They had four children: George, Jr. (also known as Barney), Robert, Margaret, and Elizabeth.

For more information on George Crile see:
For more information on the Cleveland Clinic see:

Charles Franklin Hoover (1865-1927)

Born in Miamisburg, Ohio, Hoover was educated abroad and earned his medical degree from Harvard in 1893. Hoover came to Western Reserve University in 1895, originally hired on a temporary basis, but was eventually promoted to Professor of Medicine (1907). Hoover had a reputation as a skilled diagnostician and teacher. During this time laboratory tests were gaining importance in diagnosing diseases. Hoover argued that clinician's power of observation and skill should not be undermined by laboratory science. His skill at bedside examinations was well known; two physical signs are named for him:
1. Observations on movements of the coastal margins and consequent conclusions about underlying pulmonary structure and function.
2. A method for differentiating true hemi paresis of the leg from malingering by notice of pressure of the opposing heel of the supine person as he attempts to raise the affected leg.

Source: Medicine in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County: 1810-1976 / edited by Kent L. Brown Cleveland OH; The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland 1977

John Phillips (1879-1929)

Dr. John Phillips was born on a farm near Welland, Ontario he studied medicine at the University of Toronto graduating in 1903. He came to Cleveland as an intern and resident at Lakeside Hospital (1903-1906). He then entered practice as an associate in the office of Edward F. Cushing, and concentrated on internal medicine and pediatrics. He was an assistant professor of medicine and therapeutics at Western Reserve University from 1906-1921. Phillips was also a trustee of the Cleveland Medical Library Association and a member of Allen Memorial Medical Library building committee. In 1924 he gave up working as a practicing physician to become director of both the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Cleveland Clinic Hospital.

Phillips died of smoke inhalation in the catastrophic Cleveland Clinic fire of 1929. Nitrocellulose x-ray films are believed to have been what started the fire and caused extremely toxic gasses to be released. 123 people died in the fire, which stimulated stricter safety regulations in U.S. hospitals. Excerpt from a local paper concerning the fire:
"Phillips had reached the ground by ladder on the east side of the building. He sat for a while on the steps of the church across 93rd street and finally was taken by car to his apartment at the Wade Park Manor on East 107th. There his condition worsened as the afternoon wore on. About 7:00 p.m. a transfusion team, headed by Dr.Crile went to his room and performed a transfusion, but to no avail. Phillips died at about 8:30 p.m."


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