CARMAN LECTURE

The Russell D Carman Lecture Series was founded in 1941 by the Greater St Louis Society of Radiologists.  The lecture series has been presented by Missouri Radiological Society since 2016.

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RUSSELL DANIEL CARMAN, M.D.

 Born in 1875, Russell D. Carman was a prominent radiologist whose work at the Mayo Clinic advanced the radiologic diagnosis of gastrointestinal lesions and enhanced the technique of fluoroscopy. One of his most important contributions was his discovery of the “meniscus sign” of ulcerating gastric cancer, which permitted the making of positive differential diagnosis between malignant and nonmalignant lesions.

Carman began his medical studies at the College of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Minnesota. Upon moving to St. Louis he completed his medical studies at the Marion-Sims College of Medicine, receiving his M.D. in 1901. He then pursued graduate studies at Johns Hopkins but in 1902 returned to St. Louis to practice. Initially, he intended to specialize in orthopedics but his natural aptitude for the electrical arts soon attracted him to medical roentgenology,  which was then in its early stages of development. Carman worked diligently   and enthusiastically to advance with the science and was quickly recognized as  an exceedingly proficient radiologist. He was appointed Assistant in Radiology at Saint Louis University in 1907, and three years later he was named Lecturer in Roentgenology at Washington University. In 1913, he joined the staff of the Mayo Clinic as Head of the Section on Roentgenology, and became Professor of Roentgenology at the Mayo Foundation where he continued in that capacity until his death in 1926. In 1922, he was elected president of the Radiological Society of North America and in 1926, he was elected president of the American Roentgen Ray Society.

 

Carman was a prodigious researcher who achieved technical perfection in this work. One of the most noteworthy facts in Carman’s scientific work was his painstaking control of the Roentgen findings, obtained partly by comparing those with the findings at surgery and postmortem examinations. Carman referred to two types of researchers in his paper on “The Future of Radiology”: one group consisting of only scientists and another of “scientist, physician, and inventor combined.” It is undisputed that Carman belonged to the latter group. The goal  of his life’s work can largely be said to have been a furtherance of a broader knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology as related to radiological phenomena and, on the basis of this wider knowledge, a more reliable radiological diagnosis with a consequent greater value to clinical diagnosis. He was quite clear about the fact that the difficulties encountered by the radiological science on its path forward are not of any particular nature but depend upon problems alike to all specialized branches of medicine. In 1941, the Greater St. Louis Society of Radiologists established a memorial to Carman’s radiologic excellence in the Annual Carman Lecture.