Here, There and Everywhere

 One of the best parts of being in publishing is that people want to tell you their stories. In a trade publication such as 24×7, those are likely to be stories about their products, stories about their services, or stories about making their products and services work for others — who then have their own stories to convey. Sometimes the “reporters” who chronicle that information also do the legwork: They make the calls, interview the subjects and then craft each storyteller’s phrases and nuances into words-on-a-page. Other times, stories come to the writer. Take, for example, the case of Anthony Palermo’s call to me several weeks ago.

Mr. Palermo, 75, who retired from Picker International in Cleveland, Ohio, eight years ago, called about the “Fluoroscope Mystery Revealed” story that ran in this publication in March. Having spent his career with the company that manufactured the T-10 vertical fluoroscope, Mr. Palermo couldn’t understand all the fuss about identifying a device that he maintained as part of his Picker archive and museum project — a definite labor-of-love, if I ever heard one.

He was also kind enough to send me his history of the Picker company, complete with several photos of founder James Picker and various medical devices through the years, including the Picker mobile X-ray unit that was used by the American expeditionary forces in Europe during World War I. That machine featured the first commercial use of the hot cathode or “ Coolidge” X-ray tubes, which soon proved superior to the gas tubes in use at the time. It’s also the one that was outfitted with exposed high-voltage wires!

But Mr. Palermo didn’t call me to show off his knowledge of the vertical fluoroscope. He didn’t send me his history of Picker to toot his own horn about what he called his “amateur historian” status. And he didn’t tell me about his more recent inventions from home because he was on a self-promotional tour.

Rather, Anthony Palermo is one of the “good old guys” whose story enthralls, educates, motivates — even appreciates — the listener. And, in this case, the listener considered it too good a story to keep to herself. So, I’m passing the story on to the readers of 24×7. (See Mystery Fluoroscope? ‘There is no mystery!’, p. 16.)

You’re one great storyteller, Mr. Palermo.

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c01b.jpg (9218 bytes)The collage of globes reminds me that 24×7 is often on the road — or more correctly — in the air. We’re heading this month to the AAMI conference in Minneapolis, and we plan through the year to travel to ASHE and AFSMI and NCBA and who knows where else. We like to take advantage of the educational opportunities available at those gatherings, key in on the keynote speakers, cruise the product showcases and meet with other exhibitors. With changes in healthcare technology appearing to come about at the speed of light these days, these conferences offer some of the best opportunities for helping make and manage those changes, rather than just reacting to them as they roll into our workplaces and, in turn, into our lives. See you on the conference circuit!

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