Epidemics & Pandemics in the Memphis Area

We’ve all heard about the Yellow Fever outbreak Memphis survived back in the 1800’s, but did you know we actually had 3 different outbreaks? Ever hear of an ‘open air’ school? Well Memphis had one and you’ll never guess the daily routine. Check out the Epidemics episode with Joe, Mark, and John Robilio along side our special guests Dr. Nick Gotten and Dr. Tom Gettelfinger.


Memphis Aquifer Lawsuit – read the Daily News article here on the lawsuit.

And one of our favorite parts of Memphis St Jude! Read more about their incredible hospital and how you can help their mission.


Dr. Thomas C. Gettelfinger

Dr. Thomas C. Gettelfinger specializes in cataract surgery, intraocular lens implant surgery, corneal surgery and other surgical procedures. He is described as an “artist” by his peers because of the exquisite nature of his surgeries.

An honors graduate from University of Notre Dame, Dr. Gettelfinger received his Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School in 1966. He served his Internship and Residency in Ophthalmology at the University of Washington in Seattle and completed his Fellowship in Ocular Motility with Dr. Eugene Helveston at Indiana University Medical School.

He has served as a national committee member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and has received a National Honor Award. He is the founder of the Tennessee Ophthalmic Personnel Society, an organization active in training ophthalmic assistants, and has served as president of the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology. He is also Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Gettelfinger is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee, in Memphis, and has been active in teaching and training in Ophthalmology programs in third world countries, including Afghanistan, India, Mexico, Zaire, China and Brazil. For more than a decade, he has been active in international charitable work with Orbis International, an airborne surgical eye hospital that travels to developing countries. He was an early recipient of the Good Samaritan Award presented by The Memphis Health Care News/Church Health Center.

Dr. Gettelfinger is an avid art collector and photographer.

Dr Nick Gotten

Dr Nick Gotten was born Jan 29, 1939 in Memphis, TN to a neurosurgeon father and his mother who was a homemaker. He has one brother and one sister, both living in Memphis. Nick attended the Pentecost-Garrison school, East High School, and later went to prep school at the Taft School Watertown, CT. Dr Gotten graduated with honors from Princeton University in 1961 and entered the University of Tennessee School of Medicine in Memphis that same year. Upon graduation from medical school he did a year of internship at the Philadelphia General Hospital where his father and uncle interned back in the 1920’s. Following this internship, he spent two years as a Navy physician, one year aboard ship and a second year in Washington, D.C. The Vietnam war was in full throttle at that time, but Dr Gotten was never assigned there. Upon discharge from the Navy, there followed three years of Internal Medicine residency at the Memphis Veteran’s Hospital and University of Tennessee, Memphis.

Upon completion of residency, Dr Gotten entered the practice of internal medicine with his uncle Henry Gotten in Memphis. They shared an office on Madison Ave. not far from the Baptist Hospital, Medical Center. A few years after Dr. Henry retired, Nick moved his office to East Memphis.

Dr Gotten retired in 2004 exactly forty years after receiving his medical license. His retirement came after a very fulfilling and interesting, but at the same time demanding career. This was especially the case as he practiced many years as a solo physician and was on call 24/7.

Nick is married to his wonderful wife Pamela and they enjoy traveling. Their daughter Liz and her husband Kenny have three boys, and son Nicholas has a beautiful wife Judy and daughter Poppy. Liz lives in Austin, TX and Nick III lives in Los Angeles.                                                 

We are enjoying life and our many friends. We hope for many more years to enjoy God’s blessings on us, our family, and our country.

Research team: Joe V Lowry,  Trish Gully
Moderator: John Robilio
Editor: Trish Gully
Producer: Mark White 

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