Thaddeus Lamert Montgomery


Dr. Montgomery, known affectionately as TL, received his BA degree from the University of Illinois (1916) and was an AOA graduate of Jefferson Medical College in 1920. Following a 2-year internship at Jefferson Hospital, Dr. Montgomery embarked on a preceptorship or assistantship (1922-1925) with Dr. E. E. Montgomery, his uncle, who served as Professor of Gynecology from 1898 to 1921. TL later (1925-1940) served with Dr. Pascal Brooke Bland, who was the Professor of Obstetrics at Jefferson. He held appointments (1922-1925) as Instructor in Anatomy and Instructor in Surgery. In 1926 he began his work in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, rising to the rank of Clinical Professor of Obstetrics in 1937. From 1940 to 1946 Dr. Montgomery temporarily left Jefferson to become Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and head of the department at Temple University School of Medicine. He succeeded two Jefferson graduates, Dr. Jesse 0. Arnold and Dr. Frank C. Hammond. His appointment at Temple signaled the combination of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology into a single entity, the first so constituted in Philadelphia. In 1946 Dr. Montgomery returned to Jefferson as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Division of Obstetrics under Dr. Lewis C. Scheffey, who reunited the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Jefferson. In 1955 Dr. Montgomery succeeded Dr. Scheffey as the twelfth chairman, serving in that role until he retired in 1961. Following his retirement from the college, he continued in active practice for about 20 years. He attained Emeritus status in 1961 and at that time the Medical College took the unprecedented step of commissioning his portrait, to be hung in McClellan Hall, the main auditorium of the Medical College.

Dr. Montgomery was highly regarded as a clinician and leader. During his 50 years at Jefferson, he taught conservative physiology-based obstetrics to more than 8000 medical students. He was one of the original proponents of this theory, being responsible for its introduction to the Jefferson Obstetric Service. He was also an early proponent of so-called natural childbirth and of the participation of the father during labor. As a clinician he was concerned about the overuse of operative procedures at delivery and the overuse of anesthesia and analgesia. He was instrumental in introducing "rooming-in" as early as 1947 at Jefferson as a means to prevent infection in the newborn nursery. He was also very interested in breast disease and worked to increase recognition by gynecologists of their responsibility to diagnose diseases of the breast and to include routine examinations of the breast in their physical examination.

Dr. Montgomery was a prolific author and wrote on such subjects as the pathology of the placenta, analgesia and anesthesia in obstetrics, maternal and perinatal mortality, staphylococcal infections, and physiologic childbirth. He was co-author with Dr. Brooke Bland of two editions of the textbook "Practical Obstetrics" (1934, 1939).

At Jefferson Dr. Montgomery served as President of the Jefferson Society for Clinical Investigation (Founding Member) and the Jefferson Ex-Interns and Ex-Residents Society. He also served as President of the Jefferson Alumni Association (1948-1949).

Dr. Montgomery was a member of numerous societies and professional organizations and achieved leadership roles in many, including the Philadelphia County Medical Society (Board of Directors), the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia (President, 1941-1942), the American Gynecological Society (Secretary), the Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (President 1955-1956), and the American Gynecological Club (Secretary). He also served for 5 years as chairman of the Advisory Committee on Obstetrics and Gynecology of the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Despite his many leadership roles, TL is best remembered in the Philadelphia area for his personal manner. He was exceedingly generous with his knowledge, his skills, his time, and in particular, himself. When he received Jefferson's 1970 Alumni Achievement Award, his close associate and a recent major benefactor of the Department at Jefferson (The Bower Chair), Paul A. Bowers, said: "The greatness of Thaddeus Montgomery lies in his personal manner and his professional methods as much as in his professional record. The deep humanness of the man is unfailing, and his patience, unending. It is impossible to separate Dr. Montgomery's personal qualities from his teaching of the practice of obstetrics."

Dr. Montgomery's late years were devoted primarily to gardening, painting, and writing. He held several local exhibits of his art. His latest book, "Faithful Family," was published in 1994. He died June 15,1994

Submitted by Richard Depp, M.D.

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