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Duke University Medical Center, InterGom
Center to Open
A Cosmetic Prosthetic Center to
serve facially disfigured persons is be
ing established at the Medical Center.
The new venture, directed by Elon
H. Clark, professor of medical art and
illustration, is believed to be the first
of its kind with resources for the total
rehabilitation of patients who require
artificial noses, ears or other facial
restoration. The Center does not deal
in artificial wigs or eyes. Although
work in cosmetic prosthesis has been
an activity of the Duke Medical Illus
tration Department for the past 15
years, establishment of the Center will
allow for increased service and will
make possible increased research in
prosthetic techniques and materials.
Tiie Center will be supported by a
grant of $:J8,574 from the Vocational
K(‘habilitation Administration of the
U. IS. Department of Health, Educa
tion and Welfare.
Cosmetic prostheses are designed to
improve the appearance of persons
who have been disfigured by disease,
injury or birth defects. Mr. Clark
notes that the majority of patients
seen by the Duke group exliibit a de
fect that is the result of a malignant
Facial restorations are made at
Duke from a vinyl resin plastic. This
type of facial restoration will last
only a year or slightly longer. How
ever, individual molds are retained at
the Center so the patient can be
“serviced” the rest of his life. It is
possible now to complete a prosthesis
in one daj' and no hospitalization is
required. Production of a prosthesis
originally took five days.
Kesearch activities at the Center
will be directed toward improving the
durability, flexibility and skin-like
quality of the prosthesis. To date
there has been relatively little re
search in the field. Mr. Clark states
that “even the best prosthesis will
eventually change color and deterio
rate. B}' experimenting w^ith new nm-
terials and processes, we hope to over
come these limitations.”
There are few limitations imposed
l)v tlie wearing of a facial restoration.
There is a possibility that the pros
thesis can be accidentally jarred.
However, only with children inclined
to rough play is this apt to present a
problem. Swimming is possible, but
a deej) sun-tan will contrast siiarply
w’ith the prosthesis. In this case,
make-up may solve the problem.
In addition to Mr. Clark, members
of the Center staff are: Robert L.
Blake of the Medical Illustration De
partment, assistant director of the
Center; Dr. H. W. Humphries, former
director of the Kershaw County
Health Department, Camden, S. C.,
who will be engaged in research and
rehabilitation activities; Forrest I).
Wirt, head of the School of Dental
Technology at the Durham Industrial
Education Center, on a part-time basis
as research associate; John Kelly, Jr.,
research assistant; and Pamela Dra
per, technician. A polymer chemist,
yet to be appointed, will round out
the group. It is of interest that Dr.
Ilumpliries is, himself, the wearer of
a facial prosthesis. In addition to
this stafl', consultative service from
the faculties of surgery and psy
chiatry will be available.
“Our prime purpose will be to re
turn the patient to his home and com
munity as a useful, productive citi
zen,” Mr. Clark states.
Given New Twist
The annual disaster drill was given
a new twist this year when, on May
14, hospital personnel w’ere asked to
cope with casualties from a mock
train wreck near the overpass across
Myrtle Drive. Disaster drills in the
past have included siich catastrophes
as a plane crash, an explosion at the
Engineering School and the collapse
of the roof of Page Auditorium.
Considering the volume of passenger
train service in Durham, this year's
disaster had a touch of fantasy about
it! Fanciful or not, the exercise
provided personnel with serious and
essential practice in handling large
numbers of patients in a sudden
Employee of the
MRS. RUBY GONGS
This month we recognize the out
standing performance of Mrs. Eul:^^
Gongs, who as a messenger with tli^^
Heart Station, has earned this honor.
It is worthy of note that Ruby re
ceived recommendations from several
nur.ses and ward secretaries with
whom her work brings her in contact.
Their comments indicate that Mrs.
Gongs has a sincere interest in the wel
fare of her patients, has a genuine
smile and goes about her work quietly
and efficiently. Her politeness, pleas
ant personality, and her cooperative
attitude were also brought out.
Mrs. Gongs has been w'ith the Hos
pital since March 23, 1950, and w'e
liope that she remains with us for
many more years. Our congratula
tions to Mrs. Gongs for doing a
(Continued from page 3)
ment for the care of patients it spon
sors. Deficits on these patients place a
severe strain on our private patient in
come from other sources to provide
the funds for even a restricted an^^
tightly structured operation.