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Edward F. Hartung M.D. 18991969

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Edward F. Hartung, M.D., 1899-1969
on April 12,1969, rheumatology
has lost one of its pioneer leaders.
Dr. Hartung was born on July 15, 1899, in New York City where he made his
home throughout his life. After being graduated from Townsend Hams Hall in
1915 he entered Columbia College, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1920, and then that of Doctor of Medicine from the College of
Physicians and Surgeons in 1922. He served his internship at the New York
Post-Graduate Medical School and Hospital from 1922-1924, and was promptly
appointed to the attending and teaching staffs. One of his early activities following those appointments was the development of an arthritis clinic at the Hospital. This arthritis clinic, established in 1924, was one of the earliest in this
country. Dr. Hartung served as chief of clinic there for many years and, when
the New York Post-Graduate Medical School and Hospital merged with the
New York University School of Medicine in 1948, his academic and hospital
activities were continued in the new setting. To his other responsibilities was
now added the direction of the arthritis clinic of the Fourth Medical Division
of Bellevue Hospital.
Dr. Hartung entered private practice immediately after completing his house
staff experience and continued actively in practice to the day of his death. He
was a superb clinician. Although he was constantly seeking better ways to help
his patients, his instinctive caution and keen critical judgment helped him avoid
many of the problems associated with the use of new agents which plagued most
of his colleagues. Both in his private and clinic practice he was years ahead of
his time in his appreciation of the important roles of thrapeutic exercises and
of orthopedic procedures in the care of arthritis patients. Indeed, very soon after
the establishment ~f his clinic, he recruited an orthopedic surgeon as an essential
member of the clinic staff; and what developed from that close collaboration
of rheumatologists and orthopedists has strongly influenced the rheumatologic
program at New York University and elsewhere in this country even today. His
deep interest in his patients as people as well as victims of arthritis won him
respect and loyalty to a degree which is given to few.
Edward Hartung was far from being primarily interested in laboratory research but such investigations did occupy his attention for some years, notably
his attempts to develop a chemical or biological method to estimate the concentration of colchicine in body fluids. Of closer interest to him were clinical studies
and library research on various aspects of medical history. His interest in medical
history was of no dilettante order. He was an active member of the New York
Society for Medical History, of which he was a founder and later served as
President. At the New York Academy of Medicine, he was particularly active
in the Library Committee and as a member of the Friends of the Rare Book
Room. He served as President of the latter from 19551958.
In spite of his busy practice, Dr. Hartung devoted much of his time and
thought to medical education. The New York Post-Graduate Medical School
and Hospital had been founded by a group of men who had split off from a
medical faculty because they felt that the latter did not give suEicient attention
to the needs of postgraduate students. Ed Hartung must have been influenced
by that point of view during his house st& days because, although keenly interested in medical education in general, it was in the area of postgraduate teaching
that he made his greatest contribution. His efforts in this direction began at the
New York Post-Graduate School and Hospital, where he offered the first postgraduate courses in rheumatology in this country to be given on an annual basis.
Subsequently, at New York University Medical Center, where he was Associate
Professor of Clinical Medicine and a member of the Rheumatic Diseases Study
Group, he was in charge of the postgraduate course on arthritis and related
diseases which was given by the latter each year. It can be said without exaggeration that, even while one year's course was in progress, Ed Hartung was
planning for the next. He had an instinct for spotting, in his reading and attendance at meetings, subjects and speakers of particular and contemporary
interest. It was chiefly due to him that this course became known as a model
of its kind.
Finally, acknowledgment must be made of his distinguished services to the
organizational aspects of rheumatology. He was a member of the American
Association for the Study and Control of Rheumatic Diseases, which was the
forerunner of the American Rheumatism Association, and was a founding member
of the latter. He played an important part on various committees of the American
Rheumatism Association and was its Secretary-Treasurer from 1955 to 1959 and
President in 1960-1961. He also was a founder of the New York Rheumatism
Association and served it as President in 1949-1950. From the very start of The
Arthritis Foundation he was an active supporter of it in many ways. His role
in the New York Chapter was perhaps even more important. One of his most
valuable contributions to the Chapter was the recruitment of his wife, Patricia
Mollart Hartung, to its activities. Their individual contributions to the program
of the Chapter were great; together they were superlative.
The loss of Edward F. Hartung is a sad one to all who are concerned with
rheumatic diseases and especially to his colleagues and friends in The Arthritis
Foundation and the American Rheumatism Association.
New York University
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hartung, edward, 18991969
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