Richard's Story

    Growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Davenport, Iowa provided me a mixture of opportunity, adversity, and a longing to experience the world.  My early youth was spent dreaming of becoming a Yankee while learning the 3 R’s in the no-nonsense, public school system.  As reality struck and the factory doors awaited me, I realized that my potential for a college scholarship was greater intellectually than athletically.  With the encouragement and financial support of the women in my family, I graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA from Grinnell College.  My academic strengths were in science, and I was encouraged to apply to medical school by a biology professor, who also happened to be the pre-med advisor.  Having never been in a hospital—let alone ever considered that I was smart enough to apply to medical school—I, thankfully, took his advice and never regretted the path it provided me.  After graduating from the U. of Iowa College of Medicine, I did my internship at the county hospital in Oakland, California.  Interested in the developing, new specialty of emergency medicine, I became the first emergency physician at Penrose Hospital in 1974, ultimately becoming board certified and practicing there and at Penrose Community Hospital for twenty-nine years.  I met and married the Director of Nursing, Mary Wall, becoming better known as Mr. Mary Wall rather than Dr. Richard Wall.  Our success together is summed up by realizing that she's the politician and I'm the clinician. Unfortunately, the past three years have been difficult with little productive writing as a result of caretaking of Mary with breast cancer and my aunt with dementia. It is my hope that with Mary's vigorous survival and my aunt's comfortable death that I will be able to resume telling my tales including poignant additions from these life threatening and life ending experiences.

    No matter where an emergency physician practices, incredible stories of the human condition will emerge; even without the addition of embellishment.  Though I wouldn’t consider my experience in the ER very “fun”, it was never dull.  Despite taking the intellectual path in my career, I continued my interests in sports by becoming a competitive mountain biker, XTERRA triathlete, and a sports physician at the USOC.  After my retirement from emergency medicine, I became board certified in hospice and palliative medicine while contracting with Odyssey Healthcare for the past six years.  During my semi-retirement, I have also been the cruise physician on two voyages for Semester at Sea.  My physician career has provided me the kind of incredible opportunities to experience the world while working, competing, and playing that I only fantasized about in my youth.  I still remember those sultry summer evenings, long ago, when I stood hunched over on our house’s front stoop peering out at the stars and wondering what was to become of me.  Life has afforded me the kind of great adventure that has rivaled those dreams of my youth.  My storytelling is in appreciation to all those who have facilitated this charmed journey.  Fact can be stranger than fiction.  My goal is to relate them better than I could have imagined.

coming soon

"Adventures in Medicine"

Share my adventures in life, sport, and medicine interspersed with training tips directed to the older athlete from an accusation of being the physician accomplice in the suspected murder of a cruise ship captain by the Russian Police to resuscitating a crashed XTERRA Triathlete in Saipan. Read these stories and other excerpts from my upcoming book scheduled for completion within the year by clicking on the links below:

RSS Feed

News & Events