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American Medical Biographies/Guiteras, Ramon Benjamin

Guiteras, Ramon Benjamin (1859–1917).

Ramon Guiteras, distinguished urologist, athlete and great game hunter, was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, August 17, 1859, son of Ramon Benjamin Guiteras and Eliza Wardwell. He was fitted for college at the private school of Joshua Kendall in Cambridge and was admitted to Harvard College in July, 1878, leaving in April, 1879, to spend a year and a half traveling in Europe and Africa. While in college he dropped his middle name. In 1880 he entered the Harvard Medical School and graduated M. D. in 1883. His classmates emphasize his prowess as an athlete, and he was one of the best heavy-weight boxers of the time. After receiving the degree he studied medicine in Vienna for a year or more, then traveled, remaining some time in Russia and Finland. He was a man of striking appearance, a lover of sport and hunted big game in Africa and other parts of the world, was a great swimmer and especially loved long swims in the ocean.

Returning to New York in October, 1885, he was appointed surgeon at the Charity Hospital on Blackwell's Island, where he remained eighteen months; in 1887 beginning practice in New York. Three months later an illness from diphtheria caught from a patient, incapacitated him for six weeks, after which he went to Cuba for his health, making a trip across the Island on horseback. In 1888 he resumed practice in New York. In 1893 he became professor of anatomy and operative surgery and later was professor of genito-urinary surgery in the New York Post-Graduate Medical School. He was visiting surgeon to the Post-Graduate and Columbus Hospitals and consulting surgeon to the French and City Hospitals.

His life's work was dedicated to the study of urology and he was an active member of the American Urological Association and of the New York Urological Society. For many years he was secretary to the Pan-American Medical Congress, and served on Government Advisory Boards; in 1916 President Wilson commissioned him to report on the sentiment of the people of Cuba in regard to the European War, and his investigation was published.

He was a good teacher and gave special attention to instructing post-graduate students by a graduated course leading straight from the simpler and fundamental methods of urological asepsis and examination up to the operative procedures.

In 1912 he published a comprehensive treatise on urology in two volumes, including the urinary diseases of both men and women, an exposition of his teaching of twenty years. He was author of another book, and was at work on a third at the time of his death, which occurred from meningitis, at the French Hospital, New York, December 13, 1917.

He was unmarried, and made an interesting disposal of his property by will: To the town of Bristol his residuary estate was left for the erection of a public school building in memory of his mother, with the suggestion that it be designed after the residence of "Mrs. Mudge at Papoosequan, and be all in white." The Post-Graduate Hospital, Columbus Hospital and the Academy of Medicine received bequests, and $5,000 was left to the Bristol Yacht Club "to buy catboats and rowboats for the use of guests."

Dr. Juan Guiteras, Havana, Cuba, eminent internist, who did notable work in yellow fever, was a cousin of Ramon Guiteras.

Harvard Notes, Medical Class of 1883.
Harvard Bulletin, Jan. 3, 1918.
Boston Herald, Dec. 27, 1917.
New York Times, Dec. 27, 1917.