Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 20, 2005

Wheeler Lipes, 84, who as a World War II pharmacist's mate performed an emergency appendectomy aboard a submarine with makeshift instruments such as bent spoons, died of pancreatic cancer Sunday in New Bern, N.C.

Mr. Lipes used bent spoons for retractors and alcohol from torpedoes for sterilization in 1942 when he removed the appendix of sailor Darrel Dean Rector aboard the USS Seadragon, 120 feet below the surface of the South China Sea.

Mr. Lipes, then 22, and an assistant wore sterilized pajamas in place of operating room gowns. Mr. Rector was too tall for the makeshift operating table, so Mr. Lipes put the patient's feet in the drawer of a cabinet.

The two-hour procedure was recounted in reporter George Weller's Pulitzer Prize-winning article in the Chicago Daily News, and inspired a movie starring Cary Grant as well as a Navy-produced film titled The Pharmacist's Mate.

But there also was anger over his actions among physicians in the Navy Medical Corps and talk of a court-martial by the U.S. surgeon general, who was forced to set protocols for appendectomies on submarines.

Mr. Lipes went without honors until Jan Herman, historian of the Navy Medical Department, began looking into his case. He received the Navy Commendation Medal in February.

Norman Lockman, 66, a columnist and former managing editor at the Wilmington, Del., News Journal and member of a Boston Globe reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984, died Monday in Wilmington. He had suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

In 1969, he became the first black reporter to be hired full time by The News Journal, which within three years promoted him to Washington bureau chief. Soon afterward, he left for a 10-year stint at the Globe. He and five other reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in 1984 for an investigative series examining race relations.

That year, he was invited to return to The News Journal as managing editor.

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