All notes filed under:

Medical Education

002 00:00:51 Image: Johns Hopkins University exterior

Timecode: 00:00:51

Image: Johns Hopkins University exterior

Photograph of Johns Hopkins taken by Harvey Cushing circa 1900.

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Photograph of Johns Hopkins taken by Harvey Cushing circa 1900.

003 00:00:54 Dialogue: “When he stood before the dean of Johns Hopkins”
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Timecode: 00:00:54

Dialogue: “When he stood before the dean of Johns Hopkins”

We can’t verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley’s origin story. The language being spoken by the narrator is taken almost verbatim from The Life of A Man, a biography commissioned and paid for by Brinkley (more on that book later). In 1902, Brinkley graduated …

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We can’t verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley’s origin story. The language being spoken by the narrator is taken almost verbatim from The Life of A Man, a biography commissioned and paid for by Brinkley (more on that book later). In 1902, Brinkley graduated from high school and he would have been 17 years old on July 8, so it’s feasible that he could have decided to try to enrol in medical school at that time. However, the whole scene feels rather improbable to us, and the “I tried to get legitimate medicine to accept me and they cruelly declined” is also a standard quack cliché.

004 00:01:08 Dialogue: “Like his daddy was”
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Timecode: 00:01:08

Dialogue: “Like his daddy was”

We can’t verify that Brinkley’s daddy was a doctor, but he always said he was. Brinkley cited his father’s profession as inspiration for his own. If he was a doctor at all, Brinkey’s daddy would have almost certainly been the sort of poor “country doctor” common in the 1800s.  At that time, being a doctor …

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We can’t verify that Brinkley’s daddy was a doctor, but he always said he was. Brinkley cited his father’s profession as inspiration for his own. If he was a doctor at all, Brinkey’s daddy would have almost certainly been the sort of poor “country doctor” common in the 1800s.  At that time, being a doctor wasn’t the distinguished profession it later became (largely due to the efforts of the American Medical Association).  On the other hand, sometimes Brinkley claimed his daddy had a medical degree from Davidson College in Charlotte.  As Lee wrote, “(t)his is highly unlikely, however, as attending college in the antebellum South was expensive and confined largely to the plantation and urban aristocracy who could afford it, not poor mountain folk.”

005 00:01:21 Dialogue: “Brinkley had a diploma”
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Timecode: 00:01:21

Dialogue: “Brinkley had a diploma”

“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). …

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“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). So: yes, he had this diploma (and a number of other diplomas and accreditations), but it doesn’t mean what you might think it means.

On a separate note, the narrator claims here that he received this diploma in 1917, and then married Minnie, and then moved to Milford all in the same year. This is not chronologically accurate; we’re compressing these events (and leaving a lot out) for flow and clarity.

006 00:01:23 Image: Eclectic Medical University exterior (drawing)
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Timecode: 00:01:23

Image: Eclectic Medical University exterior (drawing)

This drawing is based on a photo of the Homeopathic Medical College of St. Louis taken in the early 1900s. We couldn’t find an image reference for the Eclectic Medical College of Kansas City, so we substituted this one instead. Same time period, different kind of quackery, and anyway this is clearly a “reenactment” scene, …

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This drawing is based on a photo of the Homeopathic Medical College of St. Louis taken in the early 1900s. We couldn’t find an image reference for the Eclectic Medical College of Kansas City, so we substituted this one instead. Same time period, different kind of quackery, and anyway this is clearly a “reenactment” scene, so all of this explanation is probably unnecessary? (From here on out, we are not going to comment on every act of “imagination” used in a reenactment scene; this one seemed kind of funny to us because of the inside joke comparing homeopathy to eclectic medicine.)

086 00:12:05 Image: Flashbacks to earlier scenes
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Timecode: 00:12:05

Image: Flashbacks to earlier scenes

We can’t verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley’s origin story. In 1902, Brinkley graduated from high school and he would have been 17 years old on July 8, so it’s feasible that he could have decided to try to enroll in medical school at …

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We can’t verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley’s origin story. In 1902, Brinkley graduated from high school and he would have been 17 years old on July 8, so it’s feasible that he could have decided to try to enroll in medical school at that time. However, the whole scene feels rather improbable to us.

088 00:12:24 Image: Brinkley in cap and gown
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Timecode: 00:12:24

Image: Brinkley in cap and gown

Given that Brinkley seems to have purchased all of his degrees, we really don’t understand where this photo of him in a cap and gown came from. Another mystery.

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Given that Brinkley seems to have purchased all of his degrees, we really don’t understand where this photo of him in a cap and gown came from. Another mystery.

089 00:12:27 Image: Diploma
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Timecode: 00:12:27

Image: Diploma

“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). …

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“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). So: yes, he had this diploma (and a number of other diplomas and accreditations), but it doesn’t mean what you might think it means.

100 00:14:43 Image: Archival of AMA exterior, Fishbein’s office

Timecode: 00:14:43

Image: Archival of AMA exterior, Fishbein’s office

Archival imagery taken from “Men Of Medicine” (American Medical Association, 1938). It’s from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here…

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Archival imagery taken from “Men Of Medicine” (American Medical Association, 1938). It’s from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here…

102 00:15:04 Image: Archival of medical students

Timecode: 00:15:04

Image: Archival of medical students

Archival imagery taken from “Men Of Medicine” (American Medical Association, 1938). It’s from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here…

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Archival imagery taken from “Men Of Medicine” (American Medical Association, 1938). It’s from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here…

284 01:04:03 Dialogue: “Diploma from the Eclectic Medical University”
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Timecode: 01:04:03

Dialogue: “Diploma from the Eclectic Medical University”

“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25).

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“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25).

285 01:04:34 Dialogue: “You were incarcerated in Greenville, SC”
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Timecode: 01:04:34

Dialogue: “You were incarcerated in Greenville, SC”

True: Brinkley had been arrested for the colored water scam in Greenville, SC. Not true: it was on the very same day he claimed to be graduating. So: a chronological distortion for effect.

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True: Brinkley had been arrested for the colored water scam in Greenville, SC.
Not true: it was on the very same day he claimed to be graduating.
So: a chronological distortion for effect.