"Left Open for Further Thought and Research"
While attending Indiana Medical College around 1850, Dr. William Worrall Mayo was fascinated with the possibilities the microscope introduced to medicine. In his first scientific publication in 1854, he urged the medical profession to use chemical analysis of urine as an important diagnostic tool. He characterized urine as a "messenger of intelligence from the seat of disease." Dr. Mayo's very elementary report presents progressive ideas uncommon in that period of Indiana medical literature.
Settling in Rochester, Minn., in 1863, Dr. Mayo was unusual among his colleagues as he routinely used microscopy to find answers to elusive medical problems. Whenever possible, he obtained pathological specimens at postmortem for microscopic examination. In clinical notes, he revealed the frustrations and limitations of observations by recording "left open for further thought and research." His words could serve today as a motto of Mayo Clinic's programs in medical education and research.
In addition to the microscope, a corner of Dr. Mayo's office included an array of equipment for making chemical analyses. Some colleagues called him a student of disease.
With the formation of the Minnesota Board of Health in 1872, Dr. Mayo became an active supporter and member of the local board, and was a dependable collector of specimens and data.