Philadelphia Medicine, Fall 2017 - 7

p h i l a m e d s o c  .o rg

Philadelphia's
Dr. Luther Brady,
Radiation Oncology
Pioneer...

Who Has Somehow Also
Found Time to Help Shape
the Art World
By: Alan Miceli, Editor

D

r.Luther Brady's townhouse along Philadelphia's Wash- would be a big mistake."
ington Square, has a simple, elegant fa├žade that's almost
Dr. Brady has earned the right to be heard on such matters. Since
downright modest in its decorum and sense of tradition the Truman Administration, he has been helping to transform the
- a red bricked intimation of life standing quietly alert in its neat field of radiation oncology into hope for millions of cancer patients.
little colonial corner of the world.
While also using that same discerning, penetrating scalpel-sharp
But then you walk inside. There you find lavish, flowing silk vision to sponsor budding artists who have ended up making their
drapes from India, exploding in color, and upholstery on sofas mark on the artworld and the world in general.
and chairs that give the impression the furniture just arrived from
The man has performed his decades-long dance with medicine
Versailles.
and art without stepping on either partner's toes. In 1948, after
And then there are the walls. Hanging from them, a collection of
paintings that would be the envy of many of the world's museums
-- artwork from some of the most creative hands who put brush
to canvass in the last 70 years. Names that trip admiringly from
the tongues of the world's art dealers - Howard Hodgkin, Helen
Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Richard Diebenkorn.
Like the townhouse, Dr. Brady has a modest, gentlemanly
demeanor that houses a brilliantly- complicated dynamo driven to
excel in the seemingly unconnected worlds of art and medical science.
"Developers are hungry for these properties," Dr. Brady said of
the townhouses on his block. "I think they'd like to convince the
Historical Commission that the city would be just fine if builders
put up condos here, as long as the facades remained. That, of course,

attending just two years of medical school at George Washington
University, he got his M.D. He then became the first intern at
Jefferson who had not attended that hospital's medical school.
After Jeff, he served in the Navy during the Korean War. That's
when the worlds of radiation oncology and art opened up to him.
During his tour of duty, he spent time off the coast of Japan, in
the San Francisco Bay area, and at the Bethesda Naval Hospital
in Maryland. At Bethesda, he managed the nuclear medicine
program, and did radiation therapy which eventually drew him
into radiation oncology.
While in the Navy he also had dinner with a doctor and his
wife in San Francisco, where he met several young artists. He was
sensitive to the arts. He played the violin when he was six, and still
Continued on page 8
Fall 2017 : Philadelphia Medicine

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