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MUSSEY


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MUSSEY


Mussey, Reuben Dimond (1780-1866).

As a surgeon some of Mussey's surgical exploits have become historical and gained the approval not only in the States but in Europe. The ligature of both carotids in the same patient for the cure of an immense nevus in the scalp, also removal of the scapula with a portion of the clavicle after previous amputation at the shoulder-joint were achievements of a high order. He also antedated Sims in the successful surgical treatment of vesico- vaginal fistula.

He was the son of Dr. John Mussey, of Pelham Township, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, and born on the twenty- third of June, 1780. The story of his youth resembled that of many other doctors, short means, long hours of work on a farm or in teaching to get money for fees, and a brave uphill fight which landed him at Dartmouth College, whence he graduated in 1803, and studied medi- cine under Dr. Nathan Smith. Dart- mouth in after years gave him her LL. D. He took his M. B. in 1805, and in the same year began practice in Ipswich, now Essex, Massachusetts, but went on to his M. D. (University of Pennsylvania) in 1809. While in Ipswich he married Miss Sewall, who survived the marriage only three years. On his return from Phila- delphia he settled in Salem, Massachu- setts, and in his six years there attained a large practice chiefly obstetrical, but he had already distinguished himself as a surgeon and in 1814 was given the chair of medical theory and practice at Dart- mouth. From three professorships offered him in 1837 he accepted that of the Medical College of Ohio and lectured there fourteen years. When the Miami Medical College founded by him was opened he lectured on surgery there for six years, resigning in 1857 and going to Boston where he spent the remainder of his Ufe and died there on June 21, 1886. His second wife was Hetty, daughter of Dr. Osgood, army surgeon. Besides some daughters he had four sons — Charles, Reuben B., Francis B., and WiUiam H., the last two becoming physicians.


As a man of science he was diUgent and deliberate w^th the most conscientious attention to details. As an operator he was slow and cautious and according to Samuel Gross admitted the human side by praying with and for his patients. He was at issue with Benjamin Rush con- cerning the non-absorbtiveness of the skin and to prove his theory immersed himself in a strong solution of madder for three hours. He had the satisfaction of detecting madder in the urine for two days, the addition of an alcohol rendering it red. But tliis bold experimentor nearly killed liimself in trjing to see whether he could not pass ink by immers- ing himself in a solution of nutgall and consequently in sulphate of iron. In 1830 and before that Sir Astley Cooper had taught there could be no union after intracapsular fracture, so Mussey set out for England with a specimen showing such a possibility.

His valuable library is now in the Cincinnati Public Library.

His writings included :

"Experiments and Observations on Cutaneous Absorption," 1809, Philadel- phia.

"Animalcula in the Atmosphere of Cholera," Cincinnati, 1849.

"Aneurysmal Tumours on the Ear Successfully Treated by Ligation of both Carotids," 1853, and various pamphlets on the subjects of " Drink and Tobacco."

R. D. M.

Address by Dr. A. B. Crosby, 1869, at the Dartmouth Med. Coll.

Life and Times of Ileuben D. Mussey, CoL Med. Jour., 1806, vol. xvi. Jour. Am. Med. Ass., Chicago, 1896. CinciB. Lancet and Obs., 1866, n. s., vol. ix. Med. Rec, N. York, 1866, vol. i. Cincin. Med. Obs., 1866, vol. i. There is a portrait in the surg.-gen. Collec- tion, Washington, D. C, and a bust, by Frankenstein, over hia tomb.

Mussey, William Heberden (1818-1882). Wilham H. Mussey, surgeon, son of Reuben D. and Pletty Osgood Mussey, was of French descent and born in Han- over, New Hampshire, September 30,