Vignette to the photo of William (Dutch) Dyson (1985) by Jay Amsterdam


I first met Dutch in 1977 when I arrived at the University of Pennsylvania (“Penn”) for post-doctoral training in neuropsychopharmacology and psychoneuroendocrinology and worked closely with him until his untimely death May 13, 1993. Dutch was Professor of Surgery on the general surgery faculty at Penn from the time of his return to the U.S. after World War II (after serving as the chief medical officer on an escort destroyer of a small carrier task force group hunting U-boats in the North Atlantic). By the time that I met him in 1977 Dutch was not only specializing in surgical approaches to obesity (like “gastric stapling procedures,” etc.), but had already established the first Lithium Clinic for bipolar disorder patients in the Delaware Valley. Dutch would perform his surgical procedures in the morning, six days a week, and see his beloved bipolar patients in the afternoons on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (as part of a first come, first served walk-in lithium monitoring clinic). Dutch was a kind and collegial individual who nurtured his young trainees and junior faculty. He facilitated research work on lithium for many noted colleagues. For example, Dutch was a close colleague and friend of Bernard (“Barney”) Carroll (when Barney was a post-doctoral fellow on the Depression Research Unit [DRU] at Penn about 1970); he also worked with and entertained Mogens Schou on several occasions when Dr. Schou was visiting Dutch’s Lithium Clinic in Philadelphia. Dutch also worked closely with my post-doctoral protégé and subsequent friend and colleague, Professor Janusz Rybakowski, when he was a fellow on the DRU in 1977-1978 and remained a close friend of Dutch up to the time of Dutch’s death. Dutch was a polymath of sorts and had an extremely diverse medical background (grounded in medicine, surgery and finally psychiatry research). Dutch, like Thudichum, was also a lover of fine wine and, of course, a lover of golf (he lived on the 2nd fairway at Pine Valley golf Club – arguably the finest course in the world). I spent many evenings with Dutch and his wife drinking great Zinfandels and Sauternes on the patio of his home. I miss Dutch every day – and no one now living (except perhaps for a few select academics like Barney Carroll and Janusz Rybakowski) know about this man’s achievements.

William (Dutch) Dyson (1915 – 1993). See photo in photo archives – individual photos.

October 18, 2018