GEORGE EHNI was born in Pekin, Illinois, February 18, 1914. He attended Pekin Community High School, the University of Illinois (B.S., 1935), and Northwestern University Medical School, receiving his M.D. degree in 1940. In 1939, he interned at Cincinnati General Hospital. In 1940, he was appointed a Fellow in Neurology at Mayo Clinic, transferring to neurosurgery a year later. He received an M.S. degree in Neurosurgery from the University of Minnesota in 1943. He served on the Junior Staff at Mayo Clinic 1943-44.
He served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant J.G., 1944-46. Upon discharge, he accepted an appointment to develop a department of neurosurgery at the Scott and White Clinic, Temple, Texas. In 1949, he left to move to Houston, where he opened his own practice in neurosurgery and initiated neurosurgery in the M.D. Anderson Hospital, which is affiliated with the University of Texas. He was named Chief of the Neurosurgery Service. He served as Professor and Head, Division of Neurological Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, 1949-1979); Professor of Neurological Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, 1979-1986.
He was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha (1939); Neurosurgical Society of America; American College of Surgeons; Southern Neurosurgical Society; American Academy of Neurological Surgery; American Association of Neurological Surgeons; International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine; and the Cervical Spine Research Society. He was President of: The Neurosurgical Society of America (1976); The Southern Neurosurgical Society (1977); and The International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine (1979). He was Vice-President of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery (1980). He was a member of The Neurosurgical Travel Club.
Significant contributions include: a comprehensive study of nervous system lipomas (1944); a comprehensive clinical paper on hemifacial spasm as seen at the Mayo Clinic (1945); one of the first successful removals of a pineal teratoma (1946); elucidation of neurovascular compression syndromes of the upper extremity employing a study of bruits (1953); a comprehensive study of the effect of pituitary stalk interruption in women with breast cancer, including production of galactorrhea (1957, 1959); discovery of the cause of redundant lumbosacral nerve roots (1970); advocacy and development of percallosal approaches to midline brain tumors (1969, 1979); development of a method for recognizing shallowness and other developmental aberrations of the cervical spinal canal (1979); report on spinal arachnoiditis ossificans with multiple cases (1983); reports on unilateral C1-2 arthrosis as a cause of occipital neuralgia (1983); and comprehensive reports on cervical motion segment disease, first as a chapter in Youman’s Textbook of Neurological Surgery, 2nd Edition (1982).
Dr. Ehni married his wife Lari. They had seven children: George, Jr., Margo, Bruce, Brian, Scott, Nicole, and Melanie.