Professor William Beecher Scoville
A free spirit, unfettered by rules and regulations, Dr. William Beecher Scoville
, as an organizer, technician, mechanic and teacher, has done much to influence the development of Neurosurgery.He
is an innovator, never willing to accept the status quo; and every surgical procedure offers a challenge to find a better method or to improve an accepted technique.Behind a façade of wild activity, driven by an insatiable ego, seeking better ways of doing things and espousing new ideas with their frequent and often angry confrontations, lies a nobility that holds no resentment and never bears a grudge but appreciates and commends the abilities and good works of others.Any adversary who opposes him gets his
admiration with no bitterness.Although his
emotions may at times be unchecked, he
has disciplined himself to long hours of hard work with few vacations.
Born in 1906 in Philadelphia, Bill
comes from a long line of free thinkers known for their crusading abilities.His
only connection with Neurosurgery
was indirect and physical: His
father, a Philadelphia attorney and naturalist by avocation, would get his
exercise boxing with our neurosurgical middleweight champion, Chubby Grant.
early years, Bill's serious ambition was to be an expert mechanic.He
has had a lifelong interest in automobiles, and much of his
extracurricular activity has been spent in studying the technical and mechanical developments in the automotive industry, a field in which he
has become an authority over the years.However his
father persuaded him to study a profession and forbade his
going into mechanics except as an avocation.This he
has done in part, only, using this inclination to improve neurosurgical instrumentation.His
formal education followed an ivy path form Loomis to Yale
to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School
.His postgraduate training was not aimed at Neurosurgery initially; but, following a rotating internship in Hartford, he began in Psychiatry at New York Hospital.
This was a headache to Billy Scoville
, and at times he
was a headache to his
commanding officers.Indeed, because of his
inability to conform to regulations at his
was exiled to the Paraplegic Service by his
Chief , Liutenant Colonel Van Wagenen.Undaunted, he
energies and imagination to developing newer techniques to handle decubitus lesions, treat urinary tract infections and speed the rehabilitation of these unfortunates.Returning to Hartford after the War, Bill reactivated the Neurosurgical Service and, after several years of dogged persistence, was able to establish a separate Department of Neurosurgery, becoming its first Director.
...This resulted in the birth of the New England Neurosurgical Society in February of 1951, ( which took place in the same room where years before the Senior Society and a bit later the Cushing Society came into being . Scoville was appropriately elected to be its first president.Subsequently, in 1970, he was a founding member and the first president of the International Society of Psychiatric Surgery.He served as president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery in 1971.He is a member of twelve American and fifteen foreign societies, being an honorary member of seven.Bill
is widely known in our profession and a friend to many neurosurgeons throughout the world.He
is often considered an innovator and idea man, but because of his
direct youthful, yet at times politically inept, approach with his
ego often stumbling over his
nobility, proper recognition of his
talents and accomplishments has been delayed.
humorous self-appraisal, on receiving an honor at 60 he
stated, "I am now considered by some to have finally reached puberty".Neurosurgeons are generally quite individualistic.Because of this, perhaps we have more than our share of "characters" - individuals who add color to life.Billy Scoville
is one of these.
...William Beecher Scoville
...WILLIAM BEECHER SCOVILLE was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 13, 1906, the son of Samuel, Jr. and Katherine Gallaudet Trumbull.