Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/293

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PEASLEE


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PEASLEE


Peritonitis." ("Transactions, Nebraska State Medical Association," 1873.)

H. W. O.

Morton History, vol. i., also portrait. West. M. Rev., Lincoln, Neb., 1906, xi. Another portrait is in the 1882 History of Nebraska.

Peaslee, Edmund Randolph (1814-1878)

Edmund Randolph Peaslee, best known in connection with ovariotomy, was born at Newton, New Hampshire, on January 22, 1814, the son of the Hon. James and Abigail Peaslee.

In 1832 he entered Dartmouth College and five years later began to study medicine under Dr. Noah Worcester, of Hanover, New Hampshire, taking his A. M. from Dartmouth in 1839, and M. D. from Yale Medical College in 1840. After studying abroad for one year he returned to Hanover to take the chair of anatomy and physiology at Dartmouth Medical College, but in 1871 accepted instead that of gynecology and retained it until his death. Several of his winter courses in the seventies included lectures on ovarian tumors and ovariotomy at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

Dr. Peaslee was a prolific writer. His book on "Human Histology," published in 1854, was a master-piece for that date and the first upon that subject pub- lished in the EngUsh language. While this and many articles added greatly to his prominence as a pathologist and surgeon, especially in the field of abdomi- nal surgery, it was his magnificent work "On Ovarian Tumors" (1872), dedicated "To the memory of Ephraim McDowell, M. D., the father of ovariotomy, and to Thomas Spencer Wells, Esq., the greatest of ovariotomists" that made his reputa- tion world wide.

He was the first to conceive of and to use the so-called normal salt solution, 3j salt to Oj warm water. It was in February, 1855, and he used it in washing out the peritoneal cavity in cases of septicemia following ovariotomy. He called it "Artificial Serum" — an excel-


lent name. The account is given in his book on " Ovarian Tumors," page 509. He had previously reported it in the "American Journal of Medical Sciences," in January, 1856. Very few medical men at the present day know where and when the normal salt solution originated. Although it was not sterilized it was clean, and its conception and use was a great thing at that time. His cheerful temperament did not allow the cares and burdens of professional work to weigh upon or hinder him, and the amount of work, literary and professional, which Dr. Peaslee did during the tliirty-seven years of his professional career was truly amazing and could have been accom- plished only by the most absolute devo- tion to his ideals. It is no wonder that his success from the earliest years, was assured; and as time went on and his field of labor grew larger and more exacting he reaped his reward in the admiration of his brother physicians and the love of many whose lives were entrusted to his care. In his home life. Dr. Peaslee was particu- larly happy, his devotion to his family great considering the fact that his time was generally so thoroughly occupied.

He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and a constant attendant. His ideal of the life of a physician was derived to a great extent from the deep love and veneration which he at all times felt and so frequently expressed for his Maker. In July, 1841, he married Martha T., daughter of Stephen Kenrick, of Leba- non, New Hampshire, and died on January 21, 1878.

His appointments included: the pro- fessorship of anatomy and surgery, Bowdoin College, Maine; of physiology and pathology. New York Medical College; of obstetrics there later; of dis- eases of women, Albany Medical College, New York; of gynecology. Belle vue Hospital Medical College. He was suc- cessively president of the Medical Society of the County of New York; of the New York Academy of Medicine and the American Gynecological Society.

Among his writings are: