surgery

Ephraim McDowell – the Father of Abdominal Surgery

Ephraim McDowell – the Father of Abdominal Surgery

On Nov 11, 1771, American physician and pioneer surgeon Ephraim McDowell was born. The first person to successfully remove an ovarian tumor, he has been called “the father of ovariotomy” as well as founding father of abdominal surgery. Ephraim McDowell – Youth and Education Ephraim McDowell was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, the ninth child of Samuel and Mary McDowell. His father was a veteran of the French and Indian War and a…
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Astley Paston Cooper – A pioneer in Experimental Surgery

Astley Paston Cooper – A pioneer in Experimental Surgery

On August 23, 1768, English surgeon and anatomist Sir Astley Paston Cooper was born. He made historical contributions to otology, vascular surgery, the anatomy and pathology of the mammary glands and testicles, and the pathology and surgery of hernia. Astley Cooper – Medical Career Astley Cooper was born at Brooke Hall in Brooke, Norfolk to Dr Samuel Cooper, a clergyman of the Church of England and Maria Susanna Bransby, the author of several novels. At the age…
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Dr. Joseph Lister and the use of Carbolic Acid as Disinfectant

Dr. Joseph Lister and the use of Carbolic Acid as Disinfectant

On August 12, 1865, British surgeon Dr. Joseph Lister became the first surgeon to perform an antiseptic operation by liberal use of carbolic acid (phenol) as a disinfectant. Using phenol to sterilise surgical instruments and to clean wounds led to a reduction in post-operative infections and made surgery safer for patients. Joseph Lister – Early Years Joseph Lister was born on April 5, 1827 in Upton, Essex, England into a wealthy Quaker family in Upton, Essex. His…
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Ambroise Paré – Renaissance Pioneer in Surgical Techniques

Ambroise Paré – Renaissance Pioneer in Surgical Techniques

On December 20, 1590, French barber surgeon Ambroise Paré passed away. He is considered one of the fathers of surgery and modern forensic pathology and a pioneer in surgical techniques and battlefield medicine, especially in the treatment of wounds. He was also an anatomist and invented several surgical instruments. Ambroise Paré – Early Years Paré was born in 1510 in Bourg-Hersent in north-western France. As a child he watched, and was first…
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Christiaan Barnard and the First Heart Transplant

Christiaan Barnard and the First Heart Transplant

On December 3, 1967 at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town South Africa, Christiaan Barnard performed the world‘s first adult heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. Although Norman Shumway is widely regarded as the father of heart transplantation, it was the young South African Christiaan Barnard utilizing the techniques developed and perfected by Norman Shumway and Richard Lower, who performed the world’s first adult human heart transplant. Christiaan Barnard Background Christiaan Barnard…
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Ernst von Bergmann – A Pioneer of Aseptical Surgery

Ernst von Bergmann – A Pioneer of Aseptical Surgery

On December 16 1836 (greg.), Baltic German surgeon Ernst von Bergmann was born. Von Bergmann was a pioneer of aseptic surgery and must undoubtedly be attributed to the greatest surgeons of his time. His main merits are the co-foundation of brain surgery and the introduction of asepsis in wound treatment. “Nature seems to smile to us, and we overlook her secretly threatening finger.” – Ernst von Bergmann, as quoted in [6] Early Years and…
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William Cheselden and the Profession of Surgery

William Cheselden and the Profession of Surgery

On October 19, 1688, English surgeon and teacher of anatomy and surgery William Cheselden was born. Cheselden was influential in establishing surgery as a scientific medical profession. Via the medical missionary Benjamin Hobson, his work also helped revolutionize medical practices in China and Japan in the 19th century. Cheselden published Anatomy of the Human Body, (1713) written in English instead of the Latin, which remained in print as a text for anatomy students…
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William Morton and the Painless Ether Anesthesia

William Morton and the Painless Ether Anesthesia

On August 9, 1819, American dentist William Thomas Green Morton was born. He was the first to publicly demonstrate the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic in 1846. Morton is credited with gaining the medical world’s acceptance of surgical anesthesia. But, can you imagine a surgery without any anesthetic? Standing the pain of an operation, feeling every cut? Better not. Nevertheless, anesthetics already have a long tradition.  The History of…
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