ENT Clinic Named in Honor and Memory of its First Chair

March 16, 2001

The outpatient ear, nose and throat clinic at the University of Rochester Medical Center has been named the Clyde Alexander Heatly, M.D. Outpatient Clinic in recognition of the physician who established the Medical Center's otolaryngology service and physician training program 75 years ago.

Dr. Heatly, who died on January 17 at the age of 103, was recruited from Johns Hopkins in 1926 to develop a division of otolaryngology, more commonly referred to today as the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialty. Dr. Heatly also developed residency program to train physicians in the specialty. He chaired the division for 36 years, during which new medications and technologies led to great advancements in the treatment of sinus disease and other disorders involving the head and neck.

To honor Dr. Heatly and express gratitude for his generous gift to the Division of Otolaryngology, the Medical Center renamed its ENT clinic that serves 18,000 patient annually. The Clyde Alexander Heatly, M.D. Outpatient Clinic provides general ENT services as well as tertiary care for patients with head and neck cancer, hearing and speech problems, pediatric airway problems, and cosmetic and reconstructive needs.

A native of Schenectady, as a teen Heatly's vocation was influenced by an uncle who was an ENT specialist. He graduated as valedictorian of his class from both Union College and Johns Hopkins medical school, and completed his residency at Johns Hopkins. In 1925 he embarked on a two-year fellowship sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, traveling to Edinburgh, Zurich and Vienna to study among the "masters" of the specialty.

In 1926, he arrived at the University of Rochester where he established the department and served as its chair until 1962. "Clyde developed an early awareness of our specialty in this community, and laid the foundation for modern care of ear diseases and problems related to the airway," said Arthur S. Hengerer, M.D., professor and current chair of the Division of Otolaryngology.

"Dr. Heatly had special interest in issues concerning the larynx and airway and was gifted with significant technical skills which were essential to the practice at that time since so many procedures were done by 'feel,' without the imaging technology we have today," Hengerer added. "He practiced in an era before antibiotics, when emergency surgery was often the treatment for mastoid and sinus problems. The practice of ENT has changed significantly with antibiotics and technologies such as lasers for surgery. Such developments allow physicians to perform significantly advanced surgeries of the ear and the head and neck with complex reconstruction."

In addition to chairing the division, Dr. Heatly was chief of the ENT service, became professor in 1957 and professor emeritus in 1964. He also served as a consultant to other area hospitals, established several endoscopy clinics in Rochester, and was instrumental in developing the Rochester Hearing and Speech Center. Aside from his roles at the Medical Center, he saw patients at his downtown office on North Goodman Street for over 40 years.

Heatly published a major paper in each of his 38 academic years and contributed sections to noteworthy medical textbooks. He was active in local and national medical societies and, shortly after his retirement, was honored by the Rochester Academy of Medicine with its prestigious Award of Merit.

A devoted family man, Dr. Heatly was predeceased by two wives, Martha Kinsey Heatly and Charlotte Sibley Heatly. He is survived by his daughter Mrs. Richard D. (Sally H.) Castle, three daughters by marriage, three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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Lori Barrette
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