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May 2014

RetinoblastomaThe Zimmerman Family Story

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Department of Ophthalmology, University of Maryland, Baltimore
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014;132(5):519-520. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.467

The 2013 annual meeting of the American Association of Ophthalmic Oncologists and Pathologists was dedicated to celebrating the life and work of my father, Lorenz E. Zimmerman, MD. Although many may know of his contributions to the field of ophthalmic pathology and oncology, the story of his personal challenges in the field is not widely known.

After earning his bachelor of science degree in 1943 and his doctor of medicine degree in 1945, both from George Washington University in Washington, DC, my father completed a pathology residency at Walter Reed General Hospital. The Army then sent him to Korea to run a mobile Army hospital laboratory. That facility supported Chinese and Korean prisoners of war, and the majority of specimens obtained there were bacteriologic, thus providing an excellent opportunity for the development of an interest in the pathology of infectious diseases. When he returned from Korea in 1951, he was stationed at Walter Reed General Hospital’s Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP); his intention was to become an expert in the pathology of mycotic diseases. Fortunately, however, the Army had other plans for him, and the result was a 50-year renaissance in the field of ophthalmic pathology.

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