Dr. Walter Andrew Bloedorn, 92, former dean of the George Washington University Medical School and medical director of GWU Hospital for 25 years, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at the hospital.
With his retirement from both positions in 1957, he ended 18 years as dean and 25 years as medical director.
Dr. Bloedorn joined the faculty of George Washington University as a professor of tropical medicine in 1926 while he was serving with the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. He retired from the Navy two years later. He transferred to the medical school in 1930.
When he became medical director of the hospital, both it and the medical school were housed in small buildings in the 1300 block of H Street NW, and the hospital had limited facilities.
Through his efforts and the endeavors of others, Dr. Bloedorn was able to move his staff in 1948 into a new, larger and modern hospital at its present location on Washington Circle.
He worked for a new and larger medical school building, but the fruition of that plan was not realized until 1973, some years after he had retired. In the meantime, he had enlarged the student enrollment, expanded the faculty and increased the emphasis on research at the school.
At Dr. Bloedorn's retirement. The Washington Post noted in an editorial:
"He has held great eminence as a physician ever since his early years in the profession; and he has used that eminence untiringly for the advancement of medical education in the country as a whole as well as at the particular university with which he has had so long and intimate an association . . . He has devoted himself to maintaining the highest standards of teaching and scholarship in independent medical institutions."
Dr. Bloedorn had served as president of the Association of American Medical Colleges in 1947-48, and of the National Board of Medical Examiners in 1957.
He was born in Platte Center, Neb. After graduating from Creighton University's medical school in Omaha in 1909, he entered the Navy Medical Corps. He saw duty in China, Japan and the Philippines and at the Naval Medical School and Hospital in Washington, where he was executive officer and consultant in medicine.
During World War II, Dr. Bloedorn helped establish the Army Special Training and Navy V-12 programs for drafted college students. Later he was a government consultant on military medicine, public health and medical education.
In addition to his hospital and medical school work, Dr. Bloedorn had maintained a private practice in internal medicine until closing his Washington office in the mid-1970s.
He was a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He had served on the National Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
An officer and trustee of the Gorgas Memorial Institute for the Study of Tropical and Preventive Medicine, Dr. Bloedorn became its president when he retired in 1957. The government of Panama honored him for his work with the institute.
He is survived by his wife, Ethel D., of the home in Washington; a daughter, Helen May, of Rockville; a stepdaughter, Eleanor McBride, of Hendersonville, N.C., a brother, Howard, of Fort Morgan, Colo., four grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Washington.