of the Neurosurgical Service 1941-1961 (W.J. Mixter served
as acting chief from 1941 to 1946 while Dr. White served
in the Navy.) Contributions to the neurosurgical treatment
of pain and spine neurosurgery.
(with Drs Lougheed and Sweet) to use hypothermia for neuroprotection
during surgery. (J. Neurosurg 12:240-255, 1955)
dated 1983] Dr. James C. White served as Chief of the
MGH Neurosurgical Service from 1941 to 1961 except during
the war ears, 1941 to 1946, when he was on active duty in
the United States Navy. Born in Vienna while his father was
studying medicine in Austria, Dr. White was educated in the
United States at Groton School and Harvard College. He graduated
from Harvard College in 1917 with an AB degree in Chemistry.
After spending two years as a line officer on a light cruiser
in the Navy, Dr. White entered Harvard Medical School and
in 1923 was awarded his MD degree, magna cum laude, with one
of the best academic records in a decade at that school.
White spent six years in postgraduate study. In 1923 he began
his internship in pathology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Impressed
with the accomplishments of Dr. Harvey Cushing. Dr. White
returned to Boston in 1924 and became an intern and resident
in general surgery at MGH. In 1927 he received a Moseley Traveling
Fellowship from Harvard Medical School that enabled him to
study the sympathetic nervous system and surgery for pain
with Professor A. Hovelacque in Paris and Professor R. Leriche
returning to Boston, Dr. White joined the MGH surgical staff
and specialized in the autonomic neurosurgery of vascular
disease and pain in cardiovascular disease. He joined the
neurosurgical staff in 1935 and became Chief of Neurosurgery
War II saw him again in uniform, this time as a Captain in
the Naval Medical Corps. He served as Chief of Neurosurgery
at the United States Naval Hospitals in Chelsea, Massachusetts,
and St. Albans, New York. In this capacity he was mainly concerned
with injuries to the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. After
returning to MGH, Dr. White continued to serve the Veterans
Administration for 10 ears as Branch Section Chief of Neurosurgery
for the New England area.
White began his teaching career in 1926 as an Alumni Assistant
in Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and in 1955 was named
Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Known as one
of the outstanding teachers on the Harvard Faculty, Dr. White
set high standards and did much to foster a physiological
approach to surgery. The training program in neurosurgery
he created at MGH received worldwide acclaim, and seven of
his trainees became professors in charge of their own training
programs at various medical schools throughout the United
White was described as the premier surgeon and contributor
to knowledge in the field of the autonomic nervous system.
His related fields of interest included neurovisceral physiology
and the mechanisms and relief of chronic painful conditions.
In his later years his interest in pain became predominant
and culminated in his two major volumes on pain, coauthored
with Dr. William Sweet. The last, Pain and the Neurosurgeon,
A Forty-Year Experience, was published when he was 74 years
old and is one of the numerous testimonials to his sustained
White was primary author of 180 scientific papers. In addition,
he actively participated in professional societies and organizations.
He was a member of' all of the major New England and national
neurosurgical. neurological and surgical societies, as well
as three French senior societies of neurosurgery and surgery.
He and Dr. Sweet were, respectively the 14th and the 24th
neurosurgeons to receive the annual award of honorary membership
in the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
He died in 1981 at the age of 85. His interest in neurosurgery
continued until the final year of his life. His friends and
colleagues honored him with a substantial fund given to the
hospital to establish a visiting lectureship in his name.