Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/266

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FALLEN


23S


PALMER


Fallen, Moses Montrose (1S10-1S76).

This obstetrician was the son of one Zahua Fallen, a Folish oflicer, who served under Napoleon I, and came to Virginia in 1800 and settled in King and Queens County, where Moses was born on April 29, 1810. The lad was educated at the University of Virginia and went to St. Louis in 1842. Among the professors of the St. Louis Medical College, none was more popular than Dr. Fallen for he was indeed a teacher by nature, who adapted himself perfectly to the student classes of his time.

He was of medium height, stocky build, an exceedingly soUd looking man. He had a big head, well shaped, covered with a crop of gray hair; a broad round face, seemingly almost as equally broad as it was long. He wore a close cropped mass of side whiskers, his eyes were small and sparkling, his eyeUds large and puffy. He had a strong fat nose, a large mouth with big lips which were constantly relaxed and compressed fitfully at the command of his mind. A student, writing of hina in the classroom, says: " His intense mind guides and forms his words, his memory is an ever-ready stock from which he draws capital to enhance the value of his discourse and compel truth itself. He tells you that when you approach the lying-in woman "you are nearer to the throne of God than the stars of heaven are, that Uving is death and dying is Ufe, and birth is both; that birth into this life is the death of the embryo-Ufe. God grant that our earthly death may be our birth into a glorious new being. Watch this suffering and pained lying-in creature, in her harsh hard hours of dire travail, remember that your patience and gentleness to her must be as boundless as the sea. Your attention should be infaUible, study and adapt yourselves to her whims of exceeding great agony, give, yes, keep giving her hope and bless her with your strength. Let yom* untiring attention to babe and mother be so that a clean conscience can make you undreading face your God. Each pang of pain that she is


denied betters the growing soul of progeny."

Moses Fallen's work bore fruit for fifty-eight years, truly a rare cycle of virtued benefit. Every detail of the lying-in period was placed before the student in its most effective light. " Gentlemen,' ' he would say, " as the head presses down upon the pudenda take large flannel cloths, well boiled, and when still generous with their heat keep them to the pudenda. This gracious warmth gives unimagined comfort and relaxes the assailed muscles, thus making an easier passage-way for the head."

"He could say "pudenda" with such volume and import as to make it sound almost hke the boom of an explosion. His direction for the fixing of the navel cord and the belly band upon the child was given with all the grave profundity and seriousness as though it was earth's most important affair of state. His direction for the application of a diaper upon the child was inexpressibly scien- tifically comical. His worth requires no interpreter and duty to him was as the voice of God. He was hke necessity, he did everything well, never wild in his assertions, he always acted as he beheved — that nothing is impossible to well directed labor.

He held the chair of obstetrics in the St. Louis Medical College over twenty years and was also a founder and one time president of the St. Louis Academy of Science. This later office he also filled with the St. Louis Medical Society. During the Mexican War he held a contract surgeonship in St. Louis for the United States Army.

He died in St. Louis on September 25, 1876. His wife was Janet Cochran, daughter of William Wallace Cochran, of Baltimore. W. B. O.

St. Louis Med. Courier, 1904, vol. xxx (port.). Tr. Am. Med. Assoc, Phila., 1877, vol. xxviii.

Palmer, Alonzo Benjamin (1815-1SS7).

Alonzo Falmer was born in Richfield, Otsego County, New York, of Furitan parents; his father, a native of Connec-