Tuesday, April 19, 2005

World War II Submariner-Surgeon, 1901-2005

As reported by the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Pharmacist's Mate Wheeler Lipes, who had performed an emergency appendectomy in 1942 aboard USS Seadragon (SS-194) beneath the South China Sea with makeshift instruments, has died at 84. Just two months ago Lipes had been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal.

Although his patient was returned to duty in 13 days, there was anger over Lipes' actions among Navy Medical Corps physicians and talk of a court-martial by the U.S. surgeon general, who was forced to set protocols for appendectomies on submarines. Found an interesting site, (bookofjoe the world's only blogging anesthesiologist) with interesting background on LCDR Lipes.

Lipes was never recognized honorably until Jan Herman, historian at the Navy Medical Department, began looking into his case. Submariners owe a debt of gratitude to Jan Herman and to "Johnny" Lipes! Lipes will be buried at Arlington.

What is the best HM story in your personal submarine experience? Bubblehead posts a good one from his early years at his site.


At 20 April, 2005 01:51, Blogger Bubblehead said...

My story's up at my site.


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