R. Sloan Wilson, M.D., a 1963 graduate and former Department of Ophthalmology faculty member, donated a medical illustration of an eye with a melanoma that he successfully treated with the first argon laser equipment in Arkansas in 1973. The case is believed to be the first reported use of the laser for treating a malignant tumor in the eye.
The watercolor illustration was done by Jack Diner, head of the UAMS Medical Illustration Department from 1956 to 1974. It was used in an article by Wilson and colleagues that was published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology in 1976. A highly regarded medical illustrator, board-certified ocularist and medical sculptor, Diner also was a faculty member in the Department of Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery from 1977 to 1988.
“I was so fond of Jack Diner, and it is a pleasure to be able to share his talent and work,” Wilson said when presenting the illustration to HRC leaders Oct. 24. “Medical artifacts are wonderful because they allow us to touch history, and I am happy to contribute this illustration.”
Amanda E.F. Saar, head of the HRC, said that historical objects help to “fill in the gaps” about the people who have impacted medicine in Arkansas.
“Jack Diner was very creative and also very accurate,” she said. “The watercolor that Dr. Wilson donated ties together the work of Mr. Diner as a medical illustrator to the work of Dr. Wilson as a surgeon as they worked to preserve the record of something new and unusual done at UAMS to preserve the sight of a patient. It gives depth to the somewhat day-to-day activities of a surgeon, an artist and a person trying to retain her sight. That depth is what history is about.”
When Wilson made the donation, he got to visit with the patient whose eye he saved 35 years ago. At the time, Glenda Cooper was a student taking a computer class held at UAMS. Today, she is director of the College of Medicine’s Office of Faculty Affairs. “I am truly grateful to Dr. Wilson for saving my eye,” Cooper said.
Wilson was a full-time professor of ophthalmology at UAMS from 1970 to 1975. He continued as a part-time faculty member while in private practice in Little Rock until he retired in 1999. He now lives a few months of the year in Little Rock and the remainder in Rye, N.H.
The gift was the second important historical donation to UAMS in a month. On Oct. 2, John B. Bond IV, M.D., a Hot Springs physician and 1971 College of Medicine graduate, presented the HRC with the first license issued by the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy in 1891. The license was issued to Bond’s great-grandfather, also named John B. Bond, who was a medical purveyor for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. After the war, he remained in Arkansas practicing both as a physician and pharmacist. When the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy was established, Bond was chosen as president and received the first license.
In addition to the archivally prepared and framed license, John B. Bond IV loaned the HRC a photo of his great-grandfather in his Confederate uniform and a scrapbook related to his life that includes a short biography and a copy of the act establishing the Board of Pharmacy.