One Local Family Seems to Flock to the Medical Profession
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One Local Family Seems to Flock to the Medical Profession By EVANGELINE TOLLESON Journal Medical Writer A family of Byrds makes up a flock of doctors. From one nest built by Dr. Edwin Henry Byrd Sr. and his wife Elaine — a former nurse — came three sons, all of whom have earned the title of doctor. All sons now practice in Shreveport and their father lives here part time. And the only daughter in the Byrd family married a pathologist who is a resident at LSU Medical Center here. """ " But Byrd Sr. said he never tried to influence his own sons to become doctors. It just happened, and now there is Dr. Edwin Henry Byrd Jr., gynecologist and obstetrician; Charles "Ronny" Byrd, general surgery; and William A. Byrd, an intern at I.SU Medical Center. All three have gone through the LSU Medical Center program. Their father recently sold his hospital — Byrd Memorial — in Leesville and also moved to Shreveport. This migration to medicine all started with Dr. Edward Jones Byrd — father of Edwin Henry Sr. and grandfather of the three Byrd sons. He graduated from medical school in 1902. His son Edwin had wanted to be a writer, but his father did not like his chosen field. "I was going to study journalism, but he refused to support me. He told me I'd end up being a drunken cub reporter," Byrd Sr. said during a recent family meeting, which is un-usual because it's difficult to get all the Byrd doctors together. "I was the only son and he wanted me to follow in his footsteps," he remembered. "He thought there was so much dignity in being a doctor. He always said it's the greatest pro-fession there is next to the ministry." The sons agree that although Dad may not have tried to influence their career decisions, he did have a lot of effect on their choices. The younger Byrds used to go on rounds with their father and worked at Byrd Memorial Hospital while in high school. Making the decision took a while for the eldest son Edwin Jr., who was a construction and filling station worker and came down with a case of malaria after working a night shift in a sawmill. He decided working with sick people would be a lot safer than working in a sawmill. Perhaps because he was the oldest son, Edwin Jr. sometimes was his father's "guinea pig." He was the first of three children which the father delivered in the family and when he was 3 years old, "Dad" tried out antibiotics x>n him. "I've wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember," said Ron-ny, the middle child. "At one time I wanted to be an astronomical engi-neer, but that was because I heard a word nobody else knew." The elder Byrd's favorite story about Ronny is the time his young son had just been given a puppy and he took it around on house calls. One woman had just had stomach surgery and Ronny pitched the dog at the woman's abdomen. This was one bedside manner this Dr. Byrd tries to forget about. Bill, the youngest son, showed the talent of empathy early on in his medical career. While making rounds with his father, the youth saw a woman patient who was sobbing because of pain. "If you quit crying, I'll buy you a toy," Bill said. When the five doctors — including the son-in-law — get together, their conversation is often "shop talk," they agreed. The doctors trade stories about patients (without men-tioning names) — particularly the amusing parts of medicine. Old-timers at the medical center remember the two older brothers and say they are just alike, said Bill, the intern. The family agreed on several bedside manners, particular-ly that the doctor must get the con-fidence of his patients. The brothers learned this from Dad, they said. Edwin Sr., who long ago wanted to become a reporter, reflected back on his own father's advice. "You learn more by listening than you do by talking," said the first Byrd doctor who has since died. He was also a state senator in Arkansas. Listening to the patient is a number one rule in all the Byrd households. Having the same name can cause mixups, the family agreed. It's not unusual for patients to call the wrong brother for medical advice. This Byrd family isn't the only set of doctors in town, as Edwin Jr. learned shortly after he began his practice as an obstetrician. "One night this guy called about 3 a.m. and said, 'My old cow is in labor,' " Edwin said. The man de-scribed aU the normal symptoms for labor and said contractions were five minutes apart. "We better get rolling and get her to the hospital," Edwin told the man. "That's the trouble — I can't get that ole cow to move," the man replied. Now Edwin, who had not been practicing a long and did not know the patients of the other doctors in his group very well, might have thought it was a little unusual for a man to call his pregnant wife a cow. But he did not really start thinking Men in the Byrd family all flocked to the field of medicine. Pictured are Dr. Edwin Henry Byrd Sr. (seated) and his sons (standing left to right) Dr. Edwin Henry Byrd Jr., Dr. Charles "Ronny" Byrd and Dr. William A. Bvrd. (Journal Photo by John Graber) anything was wrong about the call until the man said, "She just won't move — I even kicked her and all she wants to do is eat hay." Byrd, now wide awake, asked the caller who he was trying to call. "Why, the vet," he replied. "Aren't you Dr. Byrd the vet?"
|Title||One Local Family Seems to Flock to the Medical Profession|
Byrd, Edwin Henry, Sr.
Byrd, Edwin Henry, Jr.
Byrd, Charles "Ronny"
Byrd, William A.
|Notes||photo of Edwin Henry Byrd, Sr.; Edwin Henry Byrd, Jr.; William A. byrd; Charles "Ronny" Byrd.|
|Identifier||See reference URL on the navigation bar.|
|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|
One Local Family Seems to Flock to the Medical Professionfor