Frank L.A. Gerbode Gallery
The Frank L.A. Gerbode Gallery honors Dr. Gerbode's forty years of research, surgery and teaching at Presbyterian Medical Center (now the Pacific Campus of California Pacific Medical Center). Dr. Gerbode was a pioneering cardiovascular surgeon who performed the first open heart surgery west of the Mississippi.
The Gerbode Gallery was dedicated on September 8, 1987. It houses his scientific papers, published works, surgical tools and some of the medical devices he helped to develop. Additionally the Gallery cases contain a selection of Dr. Gerbode's personal memorabilia including artifacts from his service as a field surgeon in Africa and Europe with the 59th Evacuation Hospital during World War II.
Frank Gerbode, MD, 1907-1984
Frank Gerbode was a second-generation Californian, born in Placerville in 1907. He received his medical degree from Stanford in 1936, completed a surgical residency in 1940, and remained as a surgical instructor. At that time the Stanford Medical School and Hospital were in San Francisco at what was to become the Pacific Campus of CPMC.
In 1945, after his decorated service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Dr. Gerbode returned to Stanford. In addition to teaching, he began to spend time in the animal laboratory exploring interests that led to his focus in heart surgery and extracorporeal circulation. By 1950 he was an associate clinical professor in surgery and began experimental work on oxygenators and blood pumps. In 1954 Dr. Gerbode and Dr. John Osborn performed the first open heart surgery west of the Mississippi using a heart-lung machine that they had designed.
When Stanford Medical School moved to Palo Alto in 1959, Dr. Gerbode and a number of the clinical faculty chose to remain in San Francisco. Dr. Gerbode was a crucial early champion of Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center the newly established hospital that replaced Stanford. He felt that research should continue to have a central role and was a founder and first president of the Institutes of Medical Research. He eventually headed the Heart Research Institute division until his death. The Institutes were originally independent of the Medical Center but have since merged to become the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI).
Dr. Gerbode was chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery until 1979 and he served on the board of trustees for Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center until he became an emeritus trustee in 1984. Dr. Gerbode died in December of 1984 and the following spring the research building was renamed Frank L.A. Gerbode Research Building in recognition of all that he had done to ensure the success of Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center.
Hill, J. Donald. Frank Gerbode (1907-1984). Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 1985 Sep;90(3):448-450.