F. William Karrer Interview and Transcript

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Dr. F. William (Bill) Karrer attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1948 to 1952, before receiving his degree from the University of Nebraska Medicine in 1956. He would then work as a surgeon for the Methodist hospital starting in 1964, but would also head back to UNMC to work as a Clinical Professor of Surgery from 1988 to 1997. He would eventually take the position of Medical Director at the Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center before retiring.

Karrer begins his interview talking about growing up during the Great Depression in a family with several travelling doctors. He talks about how he chose between agriculture and medicine as an educational path. He details getting accepted to medical school during the Korean War, his internship in Denver, Colorado, and coming back to UNMC for his surgical residency. Karrer continues his interview discussing his father as inspiration for his surgical career. He gives his opinion on the changing face of medicine and medical technology. He describes what led him to focus on ENT oncology during his career and juggling being a medical director, volunteer faculty and surgeon. He talks about how the state-wide tumor registry grew from one he helped start at Methodist Hospital because they wanted to track tumors and agricultural practices. He details being a volunteer faculty at both UNMC and Methodist Hospital. Karrer also focuses on his relationship with his students and patients throughout his career. He mentions receiving the All-University Celebration Salute to Alumni Achievement (2009) and how he feels current medicine is forgetting to connect with people. Karrer concludes his interview discussing memorable professors he had in medical school. He tells a story of being accused of cheating on his state board exam because his pen ran out of ink. He gives details about his father and grandfather practicing medicine and making house calls in Nebraska. He compares the segregation in medicine that he witnessed while practicing in Houston, Texas, to that of Omaha hospitals.

Subject(s): ENT oncology surgery
Karrer, F. William

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