Wednesday, June 20, 2001


Doctor was renowned
pediatrics expert

Botany advocate Burns
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Star-Bulletin staff

Col. James W. "The Chief" Bass, physician, soldier and scholar as well as a world-renowned expert in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases at Tripler Army Medical Center for three decades, died June 12. He was 71.

Bass was first assigned to Hawaii as assistant chief of Tripler's department of pediatrics in 1968 and elevated to chief a year later.

From 1975 to 1981, Bass was chief of pediatrics at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He also served as consultant in pediatrics to the surgeon general of the U.S. Army, and he was the founding chairman and professor in the department of pediatrics at the Uniformed Services from 1976-81.

In 1981 he returned to Honolulu and served as chief of pediatrics at Tripler until 1994. Since 1994 he had been the senior medical consultant in pediatrics at Tripler and was still seeing patients before his death. Bass held professorships at several medical schools throughout the United States.

He served on the prestigious Committee on Infectious Diseases with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the editorial board of the Pediatrics Infectious Disease journal and the Executive Committee of the Hawaii Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Bass was the first to demonstrate the usefulness of erythromycin in the treatment of pertussis (whooping cough). He also demonstrated that strep throat could be treated with penicillin twice a day instead of four times a day.

He showed that the cat-scratch disease organism was commonly found in kittens in Hawaii, and proved the usefulness of the antibiotic clarithromycin for the treatment of cat-scratch disease.

He also developed the protocol used nationwide for the treatment of infants with fever and suspected infection.

He was author or co-author of more than 200 abstracts, book chapters, clinical articles and scientific papers. Bass was a highly sought-after lecturer and visiting professor worldwide.

Bass was born in Shreveport, La. He graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1957 and was commissioned in the Army the previous year. In 1968, Bass received his master's in public health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Bass is survived by his wife Bev; children Paulet M. Wingers of Grand Junction, Colo., and Brian C. Ho of Haleiwa; brother Jerry; and grandchildren James Brennan and Mason and Coco Ho.

A memorial service for Bass will be held 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Andrew's Cathedral. A reception will follow on the grounds of the old Tripler Officer's Club.

An inurnment ceremony will be held 10:30 a.m. July 17 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the family at 469 Ena Rd., No. 1901, Honolulu 96815.

It is Bev Bass's hope that she will be able to establish a memorial scholarship in her husband's name. Please contact the Department of Pediatrics at Tripler for additional information at 433-6407.

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