In the ophthalmology section, he points to a collection of antique eyewear he purchased as a lot from an upscale auction house. The glasses, some in cases, many never used, were from a shop in France that had been closed and never cleaned out for many years.
Two amputation sets from the Civil War era sit in velvet-lined wooden boxes and include handsaws and knives. A display of anesthesiology machines fascinates and appalls the modern-day doctor.
"See, they just put the ether right in here," he said, pointing to the mask, "and there was no monitoring, no filtering. Amazing."
Likewise, hand drills for craniotomy send Touma into tales of frequent deaths during past surgeries.
The museum holds a doctor's coupe, an original 1926 Model T that was fully restored by a collector in Milton.
"We brought it in through there," he said, pointing to the large window in the corner of the second-story museum. A crane lifted the car, in parts, to its current location.
"The guy I got it from almost died when I told him I would be taking it apart and putting it on the second floor of a museum," Touma said. "He said it was meant to be driven. So I drove it around the block one time, and so did my daughter, and then we brought it here."
A horse buggy by Studebaker and saddlebags full of vials of medicine for a doctor's horse are other examples of transportation in the Touma collection.
Perhaps the most disturbing tool was used to remove tonsils. Touma demonstrated how a forklike apparatus was inserted into the tonsils, and then a metal loop cut the offending appendage with a scissors action.
"The fork held it in place, as people used to swallow them when they were cut off," Touma said.
Touma is collecting more items from West Virginia, and he's acquired an entire examining room from a circa-1920 doctor's office in Chelyan.
In the dental display, a drill from 1890 is powered by a foot pedal. Others from the 1930s and 1940s are electrically propelled, but look barbaric nonetheless.
Touma has an entire 1920s-era ENT room, complete with chair, cautery (an instrument for cauterizing) and other furniture from a doctor in New York City. In a bookcase in the display, he has several oversize books including one produced in Venice by Galeni, an ancient Greek physician and surgeon. It's dated MDXXV, or A.D. 1525. Another book, written in Arabic, restored and kept in a special box, is from A.D. 1350.
"It's on silk paper, all handwritten," he said, carefully leafing through the pages. "There are these amazing charts of diseases: causes, symptoms, management and treatment." He notes that current physicians use a very similar approach to disease. "This book -- that's the only one."
Cases of china bedpans and urinals make the doctor laugh as he shows one with a poem written in it, another with a beautiful floral pattern.
He developed a display of otoscopes that he's taken to meetings to share with other physicians in his field.
Touma talked about the progress that came when physicians would have a problem with the current equipment and then would come up with a better tool. He's invented 16 different pieces of medical equipment that are used extensively today, including a tube that allows ventilation in the middle ear, often used to help with ear infections in children.
A native of Syria, Touma went to Damascus University for medical school and performed residencies at the University of Tennessee-Memphis and at Wayne State University, in Detroit. His wife is a retired pediatrician who ran the Cabell County Health Department for several years. His son, Joseph, is in practice with him, and his daughter, Mona, is a lawyer who just left Goldman Sachs to move with her husband and young daughter to Washington, D.C. His son and daughter-in-law have three sons and a daughter.
The Toumas adopted Huntington when they got out of their medical residencies.
"There was a great medical facility, and a beautiful museum," Touma said, referring to the Huntington Museum of Art, where he's been active as a board member and as a donor. "Before I knew it, I found a church, Holy Spirit Antiochian Orthodox Church. It was meant to be."
For information about the medical museum, email hunt...@aol.com.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.