The Merger

Dr. James S. Taylor, MD, interviewed by Dr. Michael A. Seffinger, DO

in Pomona, CA
August 24, 2002

  • Dr. Seffinger:  What do you remember from your medical school days at COP&S?
  • Dr. Taylor:  In 1954-5 the Cline committee came to COP&S and one interviewer questioned- at random- a student in the hall. He said, “Recite the Krebs cycle” and she did. The school passed the grade. Geraldine Dyer was the student. She married Ralph Young, DO (Pulmonologist) and became a Pediatrician. As students, we walked on the streets with pamphlets promoting the LA people’s referendum to commit funds to build a new DO facility/hospital-Los Angeles County Osteopathic Hospital (LACOH). The county referendum won and the hospital was built (1956-9).
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What do you recall after the merger of the California Osteopathic Association with the California Medical Association and the offering of an MD degree to DOs in 1962?
  • Dr. Taylor:  From1959-1962, I was thoroughly trained at LACOH in the Osteopathic Anesthetic Residency Program under Glenn Gordon, D.O. I was an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at USC in 1961 under attending physician Eva Henrikson, MD, who trained at Yale. At that time I was moon-lighting at Daniel Freeman hospital on nights & weekends. There was a problem after the merger in 1962, however: namely, not being accepted by the DO Specialty Boards. As the COA-CMA merged, and since I took my MD degree, the AOA would not accept my application for certification. I didn’t want the merger but I felt pressured to get an MD degree. I felt if I maintained my DO degree I wouldn’t graduate from the residency. I needed to graduate. I discussed it with my wife and she felt that it was better to go along with the majority, both economically & socially. She was working and if I could get a well-paying job, she could stop working. With the MD degree I was able to get into more doors- more doors opened to me. In 1962, I had a research fellowship at Los Angeles County Hospital (LACH) with Dr. Weil. I taught at the University of Southern California (USC) with Max Weil, MD and did research at LACH. I helped develop Bay Harbor Hospital (in Harbor City) with George Wall, MD (DO from 1958-9). While I was at Bay Harbor Hospital, I opened up a pain clinic. I studied and used Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, thiamine, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) and epidural injections. I practiced at Bay Harbor Hospital for 30 years, until1992, when I moved to Fresno. In 1997, at age 72, I retired. I couldn’t remember the name for epinephrine once while checking my medicine cart. So, I decided it was time to retire and did so that day, after 35 years in practice since residency. I never lost a patient in anesthesia.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Who were your mentors?
  • Dr. Taylor:  Glen Gordon, MD (DO)- Anesthesiology at LACOH, LACH-USC Chair of Department of Anesthesiology (1965). Glen Gordon, MD was my teacher. He said, “you are a doctor first, and an anesthesiologist second.” I never forgot that. I pride myself on being able to act quickly, successfully and appropriately and create a treatment for the problem at hand. I feel this is due to my osteopathic education.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Do you have any hobbies?
  • Dr. Taylor:  As a hobby I raised horses for 10 years when malpractice rates increased in 1970. I invested in racing horses with the money, instead of paying malpractice. I kept enough liability insurance to keep staff privileges. I am also a professional wood carver and I paint with water colors.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  Who do you remember as being most involved with the merger?
  • Dr. Taylor:  Glen Caylor, DO was in charge of the COA. He was one of the masterminds of the merger (with the CMA). Dorothy Marsh was the COA President.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What is the Osteopathic difference?
  • Dr. Taylor:  Philosophy- hands on- treating the whole patient and not just the symptoms.
  • Dr. Seffinger:  What should present DO students learn from your experience & wisdom? What would you like to share with them that will benefit them in their career/future?
  • Dr. Taylor:
    1. Be proud to be a DO.
    2. Go out and do the very best they can in healing people in whatever specialty they are in.
    3. Know your limits and know yourself.
    4. Do an excellent job.
    5. Be concerned with helping people more than with how much you can make.
    6. Make your patients well. Doesn’t matter how you get them well. The end justifies the means.
    7. Make a commitment to service (of your patients).

Biographical Summary

Dr. James S. Taylor was born on January 16, 1925 in Perrytown, Texas. At age 2 he moved to New Mexico. He went to El Camino Community College (Torrance) for 3 years, for his pre-medical education. He attended the College of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons (COP&S) medical school from 1954-8. Recently, he passed by Mission and Griffin Street (where COP&S used to be) in the car, to see where his alma mater was, and the building was no longer there. He was an intern at Los Angeles County Osteopathic Hospital (LACOH) from 1958-9. He did his residency in Anesthesiology at LACOH from 1959-62. In 1962 he accepted the M.D. degree from the College of Medicine which was the new name for COP&S along with 2000 other D.O.s. He practiced at Bay Harbor Hospital, which was a new D.O. hospital that was started in the late 1950s, in Harbor City from the 1962 until 1992. During his schooling he had a wife and 2 children and he also worked. Now Dr. Taylor has 2 sons and 1 daughter. One of his sons is an anesthesiologist at Lodi Hospital in California.