Link: University of Iowa

Information About

Alumni Interview

Donald Dose, M.D.

Portrait: Donald Dose M.D>

(49MD, 55R-Anesthesiology)

What is your hometown?

My hometown is Clinton, Iowa; however, since 1956, I have called San Diego, California my home.

How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?

My interest in medicine became focused when I was 15 years old. My grandmother developed a malignancy in her mouth which I felt had been neglected to some extent by her primary physician. This made me feel that if I became a physician, I could do a better job of handling situations of this nature. From that point forward, everything I did was to gain admission to medical school and become a first-class physician. I was admitted in 1945 to the University of Iowa’s medical school and graduated with the class of 1949.

Please highlight your major career achievements, awards, discoveries, etc.

After graduating from medical school, I enlisted in the United States Army, and was assigned as an intern at St. Louis City Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri. After my internship year, I was given a choice to move into the new United States Air Force with the rank of Captain. My first duty station was Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico. I received training to become an aviation medical examiner at Randolph Air Force Base in Universal City, Texas. Subsequently, I became a full-fledged flight surgeon. From July-October in 1951, the Air Force sent me to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, for a course in public health, which turned out to be quite helpful in managing a meningitis scare in the schools of Roswell, New Mexico.

In 1952, after being relieved of active duty, I returned to The University of Iowa for anesthesia residency training. In 1960, I became Chief of Anesthesia in the Children’s Hospital, part of the Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California. I served as president of the medical staff in 1972-1973, during which time I was also on the executive medical board of Sharp, as the representative from anesthesiology. For a time, I served as an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Residents from the Naval Hospital, Mercy Hospital, and UCSD came to Children’s Hospital for a six-week rotation in pediatric anesthesia. This teaching experience was very enjoyable for me, and it probably taught me more than I taught the residents!

In 1975-1976, I served as president of the California Society of Anesthesiologists. Unfortunately, this was a bad time as it was in the midst of the medical liability breakdown in California; physicians were on strike. Very favorable new rules for medical liability insurance were implemented by a special legislative session. Fortunately, being a member of the largest anesthesia group in the country (Anesthesia Service Medical Group, Inc.) allowed for setting up a self-insurance program and thus eliminating the need for commercial liability insurance. I was privileged to serve as president of this group for two separate terms.

From 1981-1984, I served on the board of directors of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and was chairman of the legislative committee of that board. From 1984-1987, I served as Medical Director of Frost Street Outpatient Surgical Center. From 1984 until my retirement in 1993, my time was spent practicing outpatient anesthesiology. This gave me some very enjoyable time taking care of a number of those huge San Diego Chargers!

Is there a teacher, mentor or UI Carver College of Medicine faculty member who has helped shape your education?

The late, great Stuart Cullen, M.D. was my special role model and mentor.

How or why did you choose the University of Iowa for your education and medical training?

My choice of The University of Iowa for my medical training is fairly obvious – home state tuition and therefore affordable for someone who had to work his way through school. In hindsight, even had I been able to afford one of the Ivy League schools, I could not have received a better education than I received from my dear old alma mater, The University of Iowa.

What kind of professional opportunities or advantages has your University of Iowa medical training provided?

My education has provided me with the opportunity to be whatever I wanted to be and to go wherever I wanted to go.

What are some of your outside interests?

In 1952, I took up flying and by 1953 had my private pilot’s license. In due time, I also received certification in instrument, multi-engine, and commercial piloting. During my 48 years of flying, I accumulated over 2,600 hours of pilot time while flying over much of the United States, as well as to Baja, California. The Baja flying was mostly for many enjoyable deep-sea fishing trips with my sons and some of my fellow physicians. One trip I took was with the Flying Samaritans to provide medical service to needy children in Mexico.

Golf has become an addiction since my retirement in 1993. My wife and I take a cruise every year, and this year we are cruising through the Panama Canal for a second time.

Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?

My philosophy in my professional work was always to continually improve on my management of each procedure that presented, and to treat each patient as I would like to be treated.

If you could change one thing about the health care system in the United States, what would it be?

The one thing I would like to see change in the practice of medicine is to roll back the ever-increasing interference by the government in our practice.

What is the biggest change you've experienced in medicine since you were a student?

The biggest change I’ve seen in medicine is that ever increasing governmental interference. The biggest change I’ve seen in my practice of anesthesiology is the fabulous monitoring that has become available over the years and of course, the huge expansion of outpatient surgery and delivery of anesthesia.

What one piece of advice would you give to today's medical students?

My advice to medical students today is to choose the mode of practice most satisfying to you and be involved in your medical society affairs, as well as in state and national political affairs. Taking time to discuss your practice problems with state legislators and with your congressmen can be enlightening for them, as well as for you.


Medicine Alumni Society
Phone: 319-335-8886
Toll Free: 877-MEDIOWA
Fax: 319-384-1746