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Bozeman, Nathan (1825–1905)

Nathan Bozeman, one of the most distinguished gynecologists of New York, was of Dutch descent and the son of a farmer, Nathan Bozeman, and his wife Harriet Knotts. He at first turned his attention to surveying, but afterwards studied medicine in the University of Louisville, a pupil of Samuel Gross; he afterwards, upon taking his M. D., became his assistant professor and had the honor of chloroforming the patient in the first successful ovariotomy done under anesthetization, Prof. Henry Miller being the operator.

At first he settled down to practice in Montgomery, Alabama, devoting himself mainly to the diseases of women. He had for some two years used the clamp suture of Marion Sims in vesico-vaginal fistula, but became convinced that this and the usual methods were at fault. He pondered deeply on the subject for some seven weeks and discovered one day while buttoning his vest that something similar to a button might be combined with the old interrupted suture with its independent action, and the "button suture" was the outcome. After this Bozeman had 100 per cent, of cures instead of twenty-five.

In 1858, he visited Europe and introduced some of his operations for vesico-vaginal fistula, and the next year opened a hospital in New Orleans for diseases of women and also acted as visiting surgeon to the Charity Hospital of that city. The Civil War, of course, saw all permanency broken up and Bozeman became a Confederate army surgeon, going to New York afterwards and opening a woman's hospital there. A controversy with Prof. Gustave Simon with regard to priority and value of "kolpokleisis" as a means of treating vesicovaginal fistula and its dangers having arisen, Bozeman went to Germany and made practical tests at Heidelberg University and was entertained by Duke Ernst of Saxe-Coburg. On returning he read a paper before the American Medical Association on "Kolpokleisis as a Means of Treating Vescicovaginal Fistula: Is the Procedure Ever Necessary?"

When Dr. E. R. Peaslee (q.v.) died he succeeded him as surgeon to the New York State Woman's Hospital, and became at once engrossed in ovariotomy, performing successful operations in May, 1878.

Up to 1888, Bozeman did much original work in the hospitals, specially in renal surgery, then finding the time and labor necessary for his bladder and kidney cases in the Woman's Hospital so exacting he opened a private sanatorium and a year later resigned his eleven years' professorship.

On October 25, 1852, he married Fannie Lamar of Macon, Georgia, and had four children, Geraldine, Nathan Gross, Fannie Rylance and Mary. His second wife, 1861, was Mrs. Amelia Lamar Ralston of Macon.

He died on December 16, 1905, in New York of cerebral hemorrhage and was buried in Macon.

His writings included the following papers:

"Remarks on Vesicovaginal Fistula with an Account of a New Suture;" "The Mechanism of Retroversion and Prolapsus of the Uterus;" "Removal of a Cyst Weighing Twenty and One-half Pounds," 1861; "On Gential Renovation;" "The Value of Graduated Pressure in the Treatment of Disease of the Vagina, Uterus and Ovaries;" "History of Clamp Sutures;" "Extrauterine Fetation;" also the "Early History of Ovariotomy" which was published by his grand-daughter in the "Biography of Ephriam McDowell."

See Surg. Gen.'s Cat., Wash., D. C., for a tolerably complete list of writings.