What do a gunshot wound, wet film, and a charitable donation to a children’s hospital all have in common?

They all have direct ties to innovative thinking and research in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Radiology.

In 1896 the University paper Aerial described a procedure at the St Paul City Hospital that allowed for the detection of two bullets in a leg with the use of an x-ray machine. Dr. Jones of the Medical School performed the procedure just eleven months after Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen discovered the detection of electromagnetic radiation.

In the early 1930s, then division head Dr. Leo Rigler set up a wet film viewing area in order to allow for almost immediate interpretation of results especially for emergency cases. Until the advancement of film processing, this provided the best means for real time results.

By the late 1960s, Dr. Kurt Amplatz had already become well-known for his innovative work in cardiovascular radiology and specifically in angiography. His research in this area eventually lead him to design his Amplatzer® septal occluder, which allowed for the repair of congenital heart defects in children. The announcement last week of the $50 million dollar gift in Dr. Amplatz’s name to help build the new children’s hospital completes this thread running through the Dept. of Radiology.

To learn more about these people and their contributions read the 1967 essay “A Brief History of the Department of Radiology” by Stephen Kieffer, Eugene Gedgaudas, and Harold Peterson available below.