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June 8, 1984

The Bushwhacker Pathologist of Walla Walla

Author Affiliations

From the JAMA Department of Scientific Affairs.

JAMA. 1984;251(22):2997-2999. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340460075030

I have always referred to myself as a bushwhacker pathologist. Actually, the euphemism is a peripatetic pathologist—one whose pathology services are shared by several small communities because none of the hospitals has enough volume to keep one pathologist busy and interested. In this situation, a pathologist or group of pathologists forms an organization to serve several hospitals. Usually, the largest hospital is in the most populous area that, although unable to support a pathologist by itself, is the base of operations for the group.

When I finished my residency, the only job I was offered at the University of Oregon was directing the crime detection laboratory for the Oregon State Police. It paid $400 a month. They couldn't pay more than that because the superintendent made only $5,000 a year. I therefore decided to take my chances elsewhere. When I was 19 years old, I had worked in a sawmill