Two anecdotes

(Submitted by Eliabeth Rich.)

Two anecdotes:

(1) Many years ago my husband, Joel Markowitz, was an intern at Montefiore Hospital. A patient, a young woman suffering from Wernicke’s Myoclonic Epilepsy, was having continuous convulsions. It was mid-August, there was no air-conditioning at the time, and her temperature was increasing after each convulsion and had reached 107 degrees. As she came down out of one convulsion, Joel put his hands over her eyes (a skill he had learned from his uncle), telling her only to listen to the sound of his voice, to completely relax her body, to take deep breaths, etc. She never went back into convulsions. As a young intern, he was very proud of what he had done, so he put it, in abbreviated form, on her chart. The next thing he knew, a meeting had been called of the entire house staff, because of great concern about an untraditional, unorthodox medical procedure without a patient’s permission. Malpractice was a concern. Perhaps 20 years later, we went to a dinner party at the home of George and Mary Lambert and were introduced. A man said “Joel Markowitz, I remember that name! Weren’t you the intern at Montefiore,” and went on to tell the story with warmth, appreciation, and some elaboration on the details. So not all the attending physicians put hierarchy first! The man was Kurt, and don’t the length of this memory and his generosity testify to his idealism?

(2) I am a musician. I remember an evening in our living room when the fine Lieder singer, Constantine Cassolas, sang Schubert’s “Die Schöne Müllerin” in our living room. There were many listeners. I remember the look on Kurt’s face. It was world in which he was at home. It seems to me the two anecdotes together give some sense of his range.