Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins
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Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins, Jr. (born August 20, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois), is a physician, biographer and scientist, best known for his work on shock and violence prevention and for his 1975 biography of the jazz musician John Coltrane.
Early years 
Simpkins' father, C. O. Simkins, Sr., is a dentist from Shreveport, Louisiana, who served from 1992 to 1996 as a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from the heavily African American District 4. His mother, the former Dorothy Herndon, is a social worker, also originally from Chicago.
Until he was fourteen, Simpkins, lived with his family in Shreveport, at the time a heavily segregated city. Simpkins, Sr., took an active role in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Two of their family homes in Shreveport were bombed. The senior Simpkins' malpractice insurance was cancelled, and he was denied renewal because he was listed as No. 1 on the death list of racist elements. These events forced the Simpkinses to leave Louisiana, but the senior Simpkins later returned to Shreveport. Simpkins hence received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, having graduated with honors in chemistry. In his senior year at Amherst, he began work on the biography of American saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. After graduation from Amherst, he earned his medical degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1974. At Harvard, he finished the book Coltrane: A Biography, which was published in 1975. Another biography of Coltrane, Chasin’ the Trane by J. C. Thomas was published in the same year. It is not clear which book was published first. Coltrane: A Biography was well received by major media critics such as Mel Watkins who wrote in The New York Times Saturday book review section, “Dr. Simpkins very often accomplishes something that few other jazz biographers have done: He narratively simulates the emotional effect of the subject’s music.”
Coltrane biography 
The book includes many first-hand interviews with notable individuals, including Coltrane's first wife, Naima. Coltrane: A Biography also demonstrates the major influence of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism on the jazz musicians of the time. This documentation has special significance in understanding the dynamics of the expansion of Islam and current geopolitics. The influence of Black Nationalism, rooted in the teaching of Marcus Garvey, is expressed by Coltrane through his admiration for Malcolm X. Coltrane’s strong affirmation of the African-American struggle for freedom was revealed in greater detail in his 1962 letter to jazz journalist Don DeMichael. The book contains engaging information about the experimental composer and musicians, Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman.
Surgical career 
Simpkins' completed his surgical training in 1980 at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City and Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. After his surgical training he did research fellowships at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. While in the United States Navy, Simpkins achieved the rank of Commander and received two commendations for excellence in research. Simpkins is board certified in General Surgery with certification in critical care. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and an honorary member of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma. Dr. Simpkins has consistently been a strong advocate for the provision of the best care possible for patients. This advocacy led to retaliation at the now defunct D.C. General Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he worked from 1987 to 1991. D. C. General retaliated by sending misleading and false information to the National Practitioner’s databank without any basis or hospital process and in violation of its bylaws. Dr. Simpkins sued the databank and D.C. General Hospital in U.S. District Court. He won after the actions of the defendants were determined to have been “capricious and arbitrary”. Dr. Simpkins’ name was ordered removed from the databank. He may be the only physician whose name was ever removed from this listing.
He has made original scientific contributions concerning the pathophysiology of shock and violence prevention. In 1993, he designed and established the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) which continues at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Under this program a masters level social worker, Ms. Mary Hampton, interviewed hospitalized victims when they recovered sufficiently to converse. From this interview Ms. Hampton would obtain an extensive personal history and an individualized plan of intensive case management and counseling. After discharge from the hospital, the intervention continued with Ms. Hampton making home visits and conducting group sessions. The purpose of the intervention was to prepare the patient for employment and maintenance of employment once a job was secured. The first year results were encouraging. Simpkins left Shock Trauma for the State University of New York School of Medicine in Buffalo. The results of a study of this program were published in the Journal of Trauma, Volume 61, pages 534-537, 2006. The lead author of the study was Dr. Carnell Cooper who took over the directorship of the program after Dr. Simpkins' departure. As the director of the Trauma Program at LSU Health Sciences Center he continued his advocacy for patients embarking on modernization and reforms of the Trauma Program. While at LSU he led the restoration of the institution’s certification by the American College of Surgeons as an adult level one trauma center as well as it’s new designation as a pediatric level one-trauma center. In addition he established the Surgical Critical Care Team and collaborated with the hospital Infection Control Committee, and SICU nurses to reduce the previously high infection rate to rates that were consistently well below the national average. Simpkins was recognized for his teaching skills by the LSU surgical residents who awarded him with the “Best Faculty Teacher Award” in 2007. His focus on patient care led to his receipt of the Patient’s Choice Award. According to the award sponsors, MDx Medical, Inc. fewer than 5 percent of the nation’s physicians, 720,000 physicians, receive this award, which is based on surveying the comments of patients about their physician. In July 2008, the LSU hospital administration gave Dr. Simpkins the “Team Recognition Award” for “…commitment to excellence in the care and treatment of our patients, their families and our guests.” The award further noted his “… positive attitude and caring spirit”.
Recent developments 
There has been some subsequent debate between Simpkins and later Coltrane biographer, Lewis Porter, with Simpkins stating:
"I have tried to resolve the differences between the details of my account of Coltrane's life and that of Mr. Porter's. There are some issues which need further work to resolve. It appears that Mr. Porter's claims that he corrected “numerous errors” are not supportable by the evidence. Particularly egregious is his misinformation about liver cancer. I would have been delighted to have been given the opportunity to assist him and help him in any way possible. But he chose to make his claims of errors without checking with those who came before him. Therefore, within the pages of John Coltrane: His Life and Music new errors have been created and resolvable issues have been left unresolved. At this point I hope that those who write about Coltrane can be gracious and open like him, and work together to compare notes and sources and bring us closer to the truth about some important details of Coltrane's life."
Dr. Porter's response to Dr. Simpkins was published in 2004: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=2054 In 2009 the Jazz Archive at Duke University announced the acquisition and availability of the tapes of interviews Dr. Simpkins had conducted in the course of doing research for his biography of John Coltrane. The interviews were conducted between 1971 and 1974. They include a spoken record of those who knew Coltrane as well as numerous contributors to the development of modern Jazz.
Many documents exist on Cuthbert Simpkins pertaining to medicine and hospital faculty.
- "Results for Elections: October 19, 1991". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
- Images of Simpkins
- 1994 Baltimore Sun article on the Violence Intervention Program
- Cuthbert Simpkins Interviews on John Coltrane, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University
- Jazz Archive at Duke University
- Photo of the bombed Simpkins family home (retrieved May 9, 2008)
- Article reference to Simpkins' Coltrane Biography (retrieved May 9, 2008)
- Article about the experimental musician/composer Sun Ra using material found in Simpkins' Coltrane Biography (retrieved May 9, 2008)
- Letter from Ella Baker the civil rights activist to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Discusses Simpkins' father and a planned hearing of the United States United States Civil Rights Commission on the denial of the African American right to vote. Dated July 20, 1960.
- Listing of Simpkins' Amherst College Chemistry Honors thesis
- Research article published by Simpkins while in the Navy The article documents his discovery of the anti-inflammatory effect of naloxone and the existence of a naloxone receptor on neutrophils.