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- J. David Stratton oral history interview, 2003 May 28
J. David Stratton oral history interview, 2003 May 28
Dr. J. David Stratton, a long-practicing ophthalmologist and former president of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society (MCMS), reflects on his career and the evolution of Charlotte's medical community through the second half of the twentieth century. Dr. Stratton first came to Charlotte during World War II when he was stationed in the city as an aviation medical examiner in the U.S. Army. He shares his memories of the city during the war, Morris Field Air Base (the precursor to Charlotte Douglas International Airport), and his experience during the 'Carolina Maneuvers' in 1941. Serving in both the North African and European theaters of the war, Dr. Stratton was eventually attached to the U.S. Army 38th Evacuation Hospital and he describes what it was like reuniting with his fellow doctors from the Charlotte region. After the war, Dr. Stratton completed additional training to become an ophthalmologist in Chicago, before moving back to Charlotte with his wife Hila to set up a medical practice. He discusses the various hospitals he was affiliated with, including Good Samaritan Hospital, and Presbyterian Hospital where he would become the head of the ophthalmology department. An active member of the MCMS, Dr. Stratton explains that the society primarily served as a disciplinary board, but it also provided social and volunteer opportunities for doctors. As a Northerner, he shares his impressions of race relations in Charlotte and the difficulties faced by African American doctors, including the efforts to integrate the hospitals and the MCMS. Dr. Stratton discusses the many changes that occurred in health care and in the health system agencies and how Charlotte's hospitals worked together to provide the best care to the community. He concludes with his belief that the city has a good, strong medical community and that overall, the citizens of Charlotte are always trying to help one another.