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Winston Holbrook Weese, MD: 1924–2000

Torres, José E. MD

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: April 2002 - Volume 6 - Issue 2 - p 125-126

This shy, retiring, recluse was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on February 21, 1924.

He received his early education in the public school system of Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended Culver Military Academy and graduated from Little Rock Senior High School in 1941. He completed his premedical education at Cornell University in 1943 before leaving for the Armed Forces.

He attended the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, receiving a BS degree in 1944 and an MD degree in 1946. He served a general rotating internship from 1946 to 1947 at St. Vincent's Infirmary in Little Rock and then was posted for duty in the Internal Medicine Section at the US Naval Medical Center and the Guam Memorial Hospital in Agana, Guam. On discharge from active duty in 1949, he was accepted in the Department of Pathology of the Charity Hospital of Louisiana in New Orleans for a year of training in pathology.

Dr. Weese received his training in obstetrics and gynecology from 1950 to 1953 under Dr. Curtis Lund at the Louisiana State University Medical School Service of the Charity Hospital of Louisiana in New Orleans. Upon completion of his residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he took additional post-graduate training in his specialty from 1953 to 1954 at the American Hospital of Paris and the American Medical School of Vienna. While in Paris, he also served as consultant in obstetrics and gynecology to the American Embassy.

On his return to New Orleans in 1954, Dr. Weese started his private practice in obstetrics and gynecology and married the late Martha Chaffe. They were blessed by having three children: Margaret Weese Riley, Stuart Chaffe Weese, and the late Winston Holbrook Weese Jr.

Dr. Weese was certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and continued his association with the Louisiana State University Medical School, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as a clinical instructor and subsequently was named clinical associate professor. In 1981 Dr. Weese decided to devote his time to teaching and left private practice to join the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as an associate professor, sharing his passion for gynecologic cancer detection and colposcopy with residents and students. He realized from his experience in private practice that residents, although very well trained in obstetrics and gynecology, knew very little about the “business side” of the private practice of medicine, so he developed a course to teach residents about the legal, financial, and personnel matters that are so important for a successful medical practice. In 1998 Dr. Weese retired from the Medical School with the rank of emeritus associate professor, but he continued to teach students on a part-time basis until his death.

In 1950 Dr. Weese joined the American Cancer Society and served that society in many capacities, both locally and nationally, as chairman of many committees—including professional education, finances, executive, and public education—and as a member of the national organization's board of directors. He was therefore aware, by the mid 1950s, of the value of the Pap smear for the detection of asymptomatic cancer of the cervix. In 1954 Karl Bolten started a colposcopy clinic at the LSU Medical School and taught colposcopy to Dr. Weese, who realized the value of using these two methods to detect small invasive cancers of the cervix and, by the early l960s, to possibly detect preinvasive neoplasms of the cervix. These experiences focused him on the need to teach colposcopy to gynecologists in the United States, and he joined a group of other Bolten-trained colposcopists as well as a few others who had been trained in Europe to share experiences with colposcopy and discuss methods to bring the merits of colposcopy to gynecologists. From these meetings evolved the idea of forming a colposcopy society. At the Clinical Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Miami in 1964, the decision was made to form such a society and to have its first meeting—complete with scientific and business sessions and a colposcopy teaching course—some seven months later, in December of 1964.

To Dr. Weese was assigned the task of putting on this meeting in New Orleans (finding a hotel, handling the finances, making local arrangements, writing a syllabus on elementary colposcopy for the teaching course, making arrangements for entertainment, equipment exhibitors and the like). With his usual energy and drive, Dr. Weese rose to the challenge, and what is now the ASCCP had a highly successful first meeting. He continued to serve the Society in many capacities and was elected its 8 th president.

Because he was a commissioned officer in the Naval Reserve, Dr. Weese channeled his colposcopy teaching to members of the Navy Medical Corps as well as to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1974 he was promoted to flag rank and, as a rear admiral, was named director of Naval Medical Reserve education and training for the Bureau of Medicine Surgery, Department of the Navy. In 1980 he was named staff medical officer to the chief of Naval Reserve. During this tour of duty, he helped develop fleet hospitals that were used in Operation Desert Storm. Dr. Weese was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal.

Dr. Weese was a member of many medical societies, including the American Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Surgeons, American Fertility Society, South Central Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, and the Orleans Parish Medical Society. He was a founding member of the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

Dr. Weese had an exuberant joy for life and was dedicated to his family, his country, medicine and his patients. It was a good ride for this shy, retiring recluse. So, Winn, as you take your last ride on the King's float, don't forget to “Throw me something, mister.”




©2002The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology