The Curry Brothers

George and Tom Curry in white coats
George and Tom Curry

During the late 1930s, when Tom and George Curry were born in El Paso, the city in far West Texas was about to undergo the same Depression-era population decline that hit every major American city. Like many other middle-class citizens, the Curry brothers looked for opportunities beyond their hometown.

Older brother Tom's chance came when he began working nights at the local hospital as an X-ray technician while a student at Texas Western College of the University of Texas (later The University of Texas at El Paso). The experience served him well when he began attending UT Southwestern Medical School.

Rustic wooden sign saying T. Curry M.D.

"As a junior student, I rotated through one of Dr. Reynolds' classes," Dr. Curry recalled in an interview for the Texas Radiological Society. "He recognized I could hang up an X-ray film and look at it. We got to talking and he found out I'd been a technician for several years."

"He and Dr. Bonte invited me to join the department. I was flattered being a young medical student. I didn't apply for residency — residency applied for me."

George Curry in office doorway, holding a styrofoam cup in one hand with a stuffed armadillo under his arm
George Curry

 

Tom Curry
Tom Curry

Two weeks later, Dr. Tom Curry was drafted into the Air Force. He returned to UT Southwestern in 1963 and began his residency training at Parkland hospital, just before a mortally wounded President John F. Kennedy was wheeled into the hospital's emergency room. Tom Curry spent the next several decades as a member of UT Southwestern's radiology faculty.

In 1965, Dr. Bonte encouraged him to learn angiography, so he traveled to California, where he learned to make his own catheters. Every weekend, he'd make enough to last through procedures he would perform during the week ahead.

Perhaps his most important contribution to the field was serving as a co-author of the seminal physics textbook, "An Introduction to the Physics of Diagnostic Radiology."

One of his favorite memories was when the radiology technologists recognized him with "Dr. Tom Curry Day" as tribute to a man who had supported and trained them throughout the years.

Dr. George Curry followed in his brother's footsteps, also attending Texas Western College before heading to UT Southwestern. Dr. George Curry was drafted into the Navy and did not begin his residency training at Parkland until 1965. Afterwards, he completed fellowship training in cardiac radiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. George Curry served as director of the diagnostic-radiology residency program at UT Southwestern for many years.

In a separate interview for the Texas Radiological Society, he discussed reviewing films 30 years ago.

George Curry
George Curry

"Back then, the unread films would be in a stack," he said. "You just grabbed a handful of films, take it to the view box, and start reading. Additionally there was no real breakdown into chest or bone or whatever…I think they [residents] became aware of which faculty was interested in which area of radiology so they'd pick that faculty member to review with them."

"Of course the all-time reviewer was Dr. Jack Reynolds. He knew everything."

Dr. Curry would serve as president of the medical staff at Parkland from 1994 to 1996. Moreover, he played an important role in founding The Association of Program Coordinators in Radiology. He was also first holder of the M.R. & E. Hudson Foundation Professorship in Radiology, in Honor of Edward E. Christensen, M.D.

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