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The goat-gland doctor of Del Rio

By Philip Montgomery
Head of McGovern Historical Center
John Richard Brinkley (1885-1942) was best known as the notorious goat-gland doctor. He made his reputation and his millions of dollars by performing xenotransplants. He inserted goat testicles into the scrotum of human males to increase their virility. He also inserted goat glands into women to cure a variety of disease including cancer.

J.R. Brinkley
J.R. Brinkley submitted this photo in 1918 to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners to receive a license to practice medicine in Texas. The license was granted. IC 58 Texas State Board of Medical Examiner records.

Brinkley earned his medical degree from Eclectic Medical University in Arkansas in 1915.  At the time, Brinkley received his Texas license, Arkansas evidently had a reciprocal agreement with Texas. Throughout the years of controversy in the 1920s and 1930s, when Brinkley was being investigated, he never lost his license to practice medicine in Texas.
The state of Kansas did revoke his license and the federal government shut down his radio station in Kansas. He found a more receptive home in Del Rio, Texas where he established a thriving practice and the first blaster-radio station across the Rio Grande in Mexico. XER-AM broadcast at 50,000 watts and could be heard in Kansas. Brinkley introduced popular music groups, such as the Carter Family, to widespread audiences as he touted his services and the Brinkley brand of pharmaceutical remedies.
Brinkley’s success came to a slow grinding halt as the lawsuits mounted, and the FDA turned its scientific scrutiny upon his methods.
Apparently, the State of Texas never revoked his license. In 1942, the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners sent Brinkley a notice to renew his license. The notice was returned with a note that Brinkley had died that year.
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Brinkley’s 1918 application for a license to practice medicine in Texas. IC 58 Texas State Board of Medical Examiners.