Program Chairs:
Kevin Badkoubehi
May 17, 2007   


May 31
Paul Wineman
"Middle East Dynamics"

June 7
Lt. Christian Escovil
"Life In the Nuclear Navy"


Program for...

May 24
Yoshiko Umezawa
Doctoral Candidate at UCLA
and 2001 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar


Yosh Setoguchi at WVRC - May 17th
YOSH is what makes us all proud to be Rotarians. More to follow, but first, GEORGE COX led the Pledge. JACK HARRIS got us through America, even though no song title was announced in advance. That brought up KEVIN BADKOUBEHI, with the Invocation. It was a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which bears repeating:

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, To appreciate beauty, To find the best in others…To leave the world a little bit better, To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.”

Thanks, KEVIN – a good choice.

There were guests. Toshie was there to hear YOSH, both current and incoming Presidents of Rotaract came – SEEMA PATEL and KATIA VAISBERG, and even though late, GAIL SMITH, wife of CURT, was present also. And while he should have been introduced as another Visiting Rotarian, who else but BILL PIERCE showed up! Bill works on the other side of town, but he knew he didn’t want to miss YOSH.

Prexy MIKE then came up with a series of one (sometimes two) liners:

The post office just withdrew a series of stamps which featured IRS Agents, since people couldn’t decide which side to spit on.  /  How are an apple and an IRS agent alike?  They both look good hanging from trees.  /  If a lawyer and an IRS Agent were both drowning, and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the newspaper?  /  What do you call 25 IRS Agents who are sky-diving? Skeet.  /  What do you say about 25 IRS Agents buried up to their necks in concrete?  Not enough concrete.  /  What is brown and looks good on an IRS Agent?  A Doberman.  /  What do you throw a drowning IRS Agent? His fellow Agents.  /  What’s the difference between an IRS Agent and a mosquito?  One’s a blood-sucking parasite and the other’s an insect.  /  Two guys were arguing about how to pronounce the name of the town they were in, Louisville. Neither would give up his preference, so the first one said – “Wait, I’ll ask the waitress”  He said, “Tell me the name of the place where I am, right now.”  Her reply, “Burger King”

The last luncheon meeting for this year of Westwood Village Rotary Club Auxiliary will be June 6th, at the home of SALLY and HOMER NEWMAN, at 11:30 a.m. Volunteer work for Katrina victims will be discussed by Rotarian DAVE WHITEHEAD and KAREN, who have twice visited and helped with clean-up operations in New Orleans. They will show films and talk about the work that is being accomplished. Lunch will be under the direction of JUDY WESSLING and ELOISE SISKEL. The new Auxiliary Board, headed by co-presidents KATHY GAULD and ELOISE SISKEL, will be installed by PEGGY BLOOMFIELD.  CHRIS BRADFORD, incoming Westwood Rotary's incoming president, will also give a preview of events scheduled over the summer and into the next year's calendar. JANICE DEA, flying in from Emeryville, will preside. For reservations, please call MARGIE DOWNIE (310)394-4827.

Apropos of nothing, may I repeat my inquiry of last week?  An older local woman is looking for someone who might like to live in a private suite in her home – she wants someone else living in the house with her, and there might be a small rent charged.

PP DON NELSON said he knew a couple of prospects, and I’m seeking more, in case you have ideas. Please give me a ring, if you will. Thanks.

PP RON LYSTER was pleased and proud to introduce our Speaker, Dr. YOSH SETOGUCHI, who is an Honorary Member of WVRC (since he now works downtown). And I have to inject here that one of the things I’m most proud of, as a 40-plus year member of Westwood Village Rotary was to nominate YOSH to be our President! YOSH is a native, graduated from Emerson Jr High and University High – and was Student Body President at both schools. But before that, YOSH and his family were sent to Internment Camp at Manzanar, and two more years at Tule Lake.  He met Dr MILO BROOKS when he was still at UniHi, and entered UCLA as a Premed, having been asked by MILO to join him after graduation from Medical School. They worked together for ten years, and YOSH continued for another eighteen years at UCLA. In 1993 he moved his program to Shriners Crippled Children’s Hospital, since funding at UCLA was curtailed.  He’s still there, and you can visit their inspiring operation - call (213) 368-3374. I took people from our Group Study Exchange – it was wonderful!

YOSH began by pointing out that he started as an Honorary Member at WVRC when he was at UniHi, and now he’s once again an Honorary Member, so he’s come full circle. Recently a combined Rotary Shriners Alliance Group has been formed, and this is the umbrella under which he now works. He recalled the one other time TOSHIE heard him speak – it was in Japan, and when he came to the Podium, the designated interpreter reneged. So his thirty-minute speech took almost two hours, while he struggled with his very limited Japanese vocabulary. Back here, YOSH claims that the day the kids look forward to is when they can come in and say, “Doc, I’m taller than you are!”

The present Shriners Children’s Hospital was built in 1952, and it has been condemned as not being earthquake-proof. Located near McArthur Park, they either have to move, or refit the structure, with the deadline being 2013. They are defined as an academic teaching-research facility, with patients admitted from birth until they are eighteen. It is not a full-fledged Pediatric Hospital, since they specialize only in certain areas. The Shrine Hospital System started in 1922, in Shreveport, LA, and they are now scattered all over the U.S. They currently treat over 6,000 patients, and their mission is teaching, clinical care, and research. Their most common problems are clubfoot, and limbs either absent or otherwise non-functioning. When they first started in the 50’s the most common disorder was polio, but that is fairly rare today. (And note that Rotary should get the credit for this significant drop). They are associated with several medical providers, primarily UCLA – but if they move closer to downtown, USC may become dominant.

Since they are a teaching hospital, they not only have residents, but also nursing students, x-ray technicians, and pharmacists. Their area of coverage is very large – most of the Western United States, plus the Northern half of Mexico – some 40% of their patients speak only Spanish. Here are the type of patients they see: He showed the back of a person who has a badly crooked spine – if not corrected, this condition will eventually restrict their lung capacity. By inserting a steel rod, they can correct this serious disorder. Several clubfeet were shown, and they are treatable – the intent is for them to wear shoes and be able to walk. Another limb problem is inability to move in a normal manner, and again, this is treatable. Burns, and scaring – They insert what looks like a balloon under part of the good skin, and slowly stretch it (sometimes for up to three months).  They then move the good skin in and remove the scarred skin. Of course, the illustrations of all these techniques were very moving.

YOSH’S area of specialty is limb deficiencies. 60% of the patients they see are born with their defects, with the remaining patients having had accidents or other outside causes (they are referred to as ‘acquired’ defects). Usually these patients have one deformed or inoperative limb, not both. Note that treatment for their deformed limbs must be started early, by eight to ten months of age – otherwise, the patient becomes so fixated on his deformity, they cannot be successfully fitted with prosthesis. As they become used to their new limb, it becomes part of them and is accepted. With lower limb problems, they must be first treated by the time they want to stand, otherwise they do not accept their new limb. But when treated, these kids are ready to go – they need little instruction or coaching. About one percent of their patients have all four limbs missing.

The hospital does not attempt to replace all four limbs – they concentrate on two – so they can become independent. If arms can be provided, the patient then moves around in a wheelchair. Where the patient depends entirely on his legs, the space between his big toe and the other toes seems to widen, which allows a form of prehensile ability. They even can be taught to drive just with their feet. They tend to stick with conventional devices in treating children, since electrical limbs are usually too heavy. 

YOSH then showed some examples of what they have done.  It’s hard to describe what we saw, but YOSH was able to explain each procedure with the help of the power point presentation. Their aim is to allow the patient to walk, and this they are often able to do. He showed a girl who had almost no hand – and after their surgery, she eventually became able to play the violin! This patient graduated from Nursing School, and her only problem was solved when they provided her with a glove, which covered up her unusual prosthesis.  Three years ago this young lady was named the outstanding handicapped professional in the United States! The last patient he showed had a leg prosthesis, which enabled her to play golf on the Boy’s team. But golf isn’t her dream – she wants to be a country western singer, and already has one album.  She has appeared at the last seven Shriner’s Conventions.

They have outreach clinics in cities across their coverage area. At the hospital itself, they have an area where the parents can stay, and meals are provided.  They don’t have a billing department, since everything is free. The Shriners pay for the whole treatment process. At one time, they had a rule that you had to be referred by a Shriner, but that no longer applies.

Q&A.  How is all this funded? The Shriners have a Foundation, with large reserves. Up to now, they have paid for everything, but if they decide to build a new facility, they will need help from the local community. What percentage of your patients have upper vs. lower limb malfunctions?  With congenital amputees, upper limb abnormalities prevail. But with ‘acquired’ patients, the lower limbs are more affected. The sooner the hospital can see a patient, the sooner they can begin working with the parents, since parents have a tremendous problem with guilt, and this is treatable. How can Rotary Clubs help? First, you can start an Outreach Clinic – where kids can be drawn in to be examined. Second, spread the word about Shriners, so they can get more people coming in. Third, the Hospital can always use money. How long will you continue at Shriners? I’m 72, and I’ve been telling them for several years that I need somebody to take over. We now have a medical student who worked with us while in school, and it looks like he will come forward when he completes his training. The key element here is starting early. If you wait until the kids are four or five, usually emotional problems have pretty much set in, and cannot be overcome. It was fitting that Dr Ralph Beasom asked the last question – Is there a chance that new drugs, such as Thalidomide once was, can begin to cause large scale birth defects? We monitor the statistics very carefully, and we don’t see that right now.

Again, YOSH, we are in your debt, not just for telling us what you do, but for providing a very special example of what one person can achieve. I’ll borrow the last line from your biography as quoted by RON LYSTER – “Looks like MILO knew a winner when he saw one.”

                                                                           —YOE, Ernie Wolfe


Michael Gintz

President Elect
Christopher Bradford

Vice President
Sean M. McMillan

Gordon A. Fell

Peggy Bloomfield

Executive Secretary
Ernie Wolfe

Past President
Don A. Nelson

Community Service Chair
Shane Waarbroek

International Service Chair
Edwin S. Gauld

Membership Chair
Tony Marrone

Vocational Service Chair
Elliot Turner

Youth Service Chair
Ann Samson



William B. Boyd

    Scot Clifford

Monday, Beverly Hills, BH Hotel, 9641 Sunset
Tuesday, WLA/Brentwood, Chez Mimi, 246 26th St, Santa Monica
Wednesday, Century City, Century Plaza Hotel, or
    Culver City, Wyndham Hotel, 6333 Bristol Parkway, CC, or
    Wilshire, The Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd, LA
Friday, Santa Monica, Riviera Country Club, 1250 Capri Dr, Pacific Palisades