Dr. Soutter's Residency Years


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Residents at Columbia Presbyterian, 1936
Source: Archives, Columbia University Health Sciences Division







The Explosion of the Hindenburg
Source: Official U.S. Navy photo--Courtesy of Navy Lakehurst Historical Society
The photo at left shows Dr. Soutter (in the center) along with the Surgical Department at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City where he was a resident in the mid-1930s. Dr. Allen O. Whipple, head of the Surgical Department, had this to say about Soutter when recommending him for a surgical appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital:

Soutter has been one of the best men we have had in a long time--thoroughly capable, reliable, industrious, and absolutely trustworthy. Furthermore, he has a very rare sense of humor which has been a joy to all of us who have come to know him. (Private papers of Dr. Allen O. Whipple)

Dr. Soutter described his residency years in New York City as not having very many exciting moments. However, that was to change in 1937.

On May 6, 1937 the Hindenburg, one of the largest zeppelins ever built, exploded in midair over Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey where it was attempting to land. One of the 62 survivors was the Captain of the ship, Max Pruss. He was barely alive and had sustained severe burns that required several operations. Dr. Soutter assisted in many surgical procedures on the victims of the explosion. When Captain Pruss was well enough to travel back to his home in Frankfurt, Germany, Dr. Soutter accompanied him. While in Germany, he toured the zeppelin factories in Friedrichshafen near Lake Constance in the southern part of the country.


Web Resources for Further Information:

Small Bullet NewYork-Presbyterian: The University Hospitals of Columbia and Cornell
Small Bullet Radio Days - Hindenburg - features the historic eyewitness recording by Herb Morrison of the Hindenburg's destruction
Small Bullet Hindenburg disaster (Wikipedia)
Small Bullet The Hindenburg Explosion: An Act of Sabotage? - excerpt of a 1960 interview with Captain Max Pruss
Small Bullet Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen



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