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9. Doctors

Bob Hammel Indiana University Press ePub

9

Doctors

One hundred percent of doctors, when Gruentzig started doing coronary angioplasty in Zurich in 1977, said it won’t work. The FDA [had it had its present teeth in the early days of intervention] would have said, “Our panel says it won’t work. Our panel says it’s dangerous. Our panel says the heart will go into fibrillation and the patient will die.” All of those things contribute to people not making major medical breakthroughs today. There may be an idea or a concept that is out there today and will never see the light of day.

—Bill Cook

Not all the key finds by Bill Cook were employees.

The same mysterious combination of hunch, insight, and luck that so improbably landed many who became major Cook Inc. leaders linked him, too, with some doctors who—in separate experiments and discoveries that frequently meshed through him—unlocked some medical mysteries within the field that Cook chose, intervention.

Cook’s doctors group—Dr. Charles Dotter, Dr. Cesare Gianturco, Dr. Andreas Gruentzig, and some more—started to form for him when he was 32. Ten years earlier, Swedish radiologist Dr. Sven-Ivar Seldinger—at 32—had invented their playing field. The Seldinger technique “gave ready access to all the vessels throughout the body, easily—without cutting down on the vessel, or cutting down in different places in the body, just to put a catheter in,” college biology major Bill Cook grasped quickly.

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12. Alger-ian Advice, April 9, 2010

Bob Hammel Indiana University Press ePub

Twelve

Previous page. Gayle, Bill, Marcy, and Carl Cook on the steps of the Supreme Court.

“What’s important about the tapestry of time that is history isn’t one event or a stream of events—no, what’s important is how events should guide us and shape our actions. Be healthy, encourage free thinking, take care of your community, and let history be your guide.”

—Bill Cook

Aline in Ready, Fire, Aim!, describing the Bloomington excitement when one of the city’s own suddenly popped up in Forbes Magazine’s annual listing of America’s 400 richest people, reads: “Bill Cook: Horatio Alger of the 1980s. From Nothing to the Forbes 400.”

That turned out to be more than a metaphor. In Washington, D.C., on April 9, 2010, 111 years after the death of nineteenth-century writer Horatio Alger Jr., the national Horatio Alger Association honored Bill and ten other great success stories at its annual awards program, a star-spangled black-tie event in Constitution Hall.

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8. Foothold in Europe

Bob Hammel Indiana University Press ePub

8

Foothold in Europe

There was a lot of tension, almost like a mystery …

—Bill Cook

An unspectacular announcement appeared in the English-language Denmark trade publication Udenrigs Handel and Industri Information in 1969, under the headline HEART-LUNG EQUIPMENT AND EXPLANATION:

Polystan has entered into a companionship with the firm of Cook, Incorporated, USA, and has established the firm Cook Europe with headquarters at the Polystan works, Generatorvej 41, Copenhagen. This new firm is a joint partnership between Polystan and Cook Incorporated and will produce and market the Cook line of cardiovascular products for the radiologist, cardiologist, and surgeon. This partnership in effect means that a full line of tubing, catheters, wire guides, lymphangiographic sets, needles, tip deflecting devices, duodenal intubation sets, transluminal dilation equipment, fittings, injectors, gas syringes, and various accessories is available for the European market.

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18. Power and Opportunity

Bob Hammel Indiana University Press ePub

18

Power and Opportunity

I never really worked for money. I worked to exist. I have never particularly enjoyed things that money brings, but I do enjoy the power that money can bring. And if you do have power, you should exercise it as best you can.

—Bill Cook

When power and money are paired in a sentence, the instant mental picture is ugly. Sinister. Power unrestrained by intimidated, winking, bought-off law. But money that is big enough also brings a power to do in an instant what others with similar ideals but ordinary means can only wish. Good things.

In August 2006, Indiana State Trooper Gary Dudley and Deputy Chief Gary Martin of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department were giving up their off-duty time to ride with seven other active and retired police officers in a thirteen-day, 1,000-mile cross-state fund-raising bicycle ride for the Indiana chapter of COPS—Concerns of Police Survivors.

At just about noon, on State Road 63 paralleling the Wabash River just inside the state’s western border with Illinois, a freight truck rear-ended the riders’ support van—despite the van’s huge banner and flashing amber lights warning of the cyclists’ presence and low traveling speed. The van lurched forward into the pack of cyclists, and Dudley and Martin were struck and killed.

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9. Saturday, April 23, 2011 A Day at the Office

Bob Hammel Indiana University Press ePub

Nine

Saturday, April 23, the eighth day after Bill Cook’s death, was set for a public tribute at Park 48, the George Ridgway-conceived “horizontal skyscraper” on Bloomington’s western outskirts. The handsome Cook World Headquarters building represents the full flowering of the manufacturing idea that started in an unused apartment bedroom. It’s a building with a grand fountain out front, its expanse outward, not up. The effect so impressive that even Bill Cook once admitted that, not every day but now and then, approaching the building, he would look straight ahead through his windshield at fountain and flags and building and “get a kind of awe—gee whiz!”

At ten o’clock on an appropriately gray and gloomy Saturday morning, the building was opened for people to come and pay their respects—and that, openly and affectionately, is precisely what they did, long lines of them.

The public tribute had begun Friday in the downtown where Bill and Gayle Cook had such a pronounced and lasting effect. The “Canopy of Lights,” which lights up the courthouse square each Christmas season, went up and came on in the middle of spring, in twinkling recognition of the man who for his last 25 years had helped make the lighting even brighter.

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