Dr. Quick: A New 'Q' Vitamin
Dr. Armand Quick is 79, but there is slim evidence that after four decades of work in bleeding diseases the Research Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee is slowing down. Among his recent distinctions is to give his initial “Q” (at the suggestion of a colleague) to an important new vitamin.
And this month he will publish what he calls his “real-life summary,” a comprehensive medical text on blood clotting and control of bleeding.
Because other researchers had shown that soybean extract is useful in speeding clotting, Dr. Quick theorized that an undiscovered vitamin (like vitamins C and K, which also play a part in the body’s control of bleeding) must be present in the extract. By the systematic treatment of two patients suffering severe bleeding disorders, a therapy which continues even today, Dr. Quick confirmed this theory.
One patient came to him after nine hospitalizations over six months for periodic nose bleeds severe enough to threaten his life. During two years of treatment with the soybean extract, the patient improved dramatically, requiring not even a single transfusion. Dr. Quick’s mysterious vitamin Q, like C and K, is believed to exist abundantly in nature, but the pure substance itself has not yet been isolated.
Dr. Quick’s name is a familiar one in medicine. He developed a widely used test, which bears his name, to determine the clotting ability of a person’s blood, and another test which aids in the diagnosis of mild cases of hemophilia. He also established a link between prolonged bleeding and the use of aspirin in some persons.
Dr. Quick calls his work “his major hobby,” and he admits to few diversions. He and his wife Margaret still live in the Milwaukee house they bought after their marriage in 1937. He has, however, found time to cultivate a passion for Wagnerian opera and world travel.
The veteran researcher’s age has enabled him to become as much a witness of change as its agent. But not all of what he has seen encourages the classicist: “The one thing I regret,” says Quick, “is that medicine, like all modern civilization, tends to become mechanized and computerized. The inspirational contact between medical student and doctor, then between doctor and patient, is not as it was in my early days.”