Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/324

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trionalis," 1S39; American editions of Armstrong on "Typhus Fever," 1821, and (with S. Calhoun) " Gregory's Prac- tice," two volumes, 1S26 and 1829 (two editions).

Prof. Potter was of medium height, full figure and ruddy complexion. There is an oil painting of him at the University of Maryland, pronounced a faithful like- ness. He was an imphcit behever in the resources of medicine; and relied especi- ally upon calomel and the lancet, carrying the use of both far beyond what would be considered allowable at this day. He did not believe in the vis medicatrix naturcz, and is said to have told his pupils that if nature came in the door he would pitch her out of the window. Potter was a man of wonderful skill in diagnosis and of national fame. He showed his courage by making himself the subject of experiments with the secretions of yellow fever patients, thus establishing the non-contagiousness of that disease. In this he combated the view of Rush. His later years were embittered by pecuniary embarrassment and the expenses of his burial were borne by his professional friends. He died suddenly, during a fit of coughing, Janu- ary 2, 1843, in his seventy-third year. His remains repose in Greenmount Cemetery, unmarked by stone or device.

He married twice, but his family is now extinct.

E. F. C.

There are several portraits of Dr. Potter, two in oil, a third a profile by St. Mdrwin. Quinan's Annals of Baltimore, 1884; Cor- dell'a Historical Sketch, 1891; Cordell's Medical Annals of Marj'land, 1903; and Cordell's Historj' of the University of Mary- land, 2 vols., 1907.

Powell, Seneca D. (1847-1907).

Born in Wilcox County, Alabama, he was of colonial descent, his ancestors coming from South Carolina. Powell was a cadet in the University of Ala- bama at the outbreak of the Civil War when he was in his fifteenth year and served in the southern army until the end of the war, when he began to

study medicine and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1869. He then came to New York and graduated in medicine from the University of the City of New York in 1870, serving a year and a half on the house staff of Bellevue Hospital. In 1871-72 he was assistant inspector of the Board of Health, and also an assistant to the Professor of Medicine in Bellevue Hospital Medical College.

He soon became chief assistant to the late Professor James L. Little in the University Medical College, and held that position until the latter accepted the Chair of Surgery in the Post-graduate ]Medical School in 1882, when he followed his chief. In the latter named place. Dr. Powell was for some years instructor in surgical dressings, then professor of minor surgery and finally of clinical sur- gery, which position he held until his resignation in 1905. He was also presi- dent of the Medical Society of the County of New York in 1893, and of the Medical Society of the State in 1897-98.

Dr. Powell was one of the best teachers in surgery, especially of minor surgery. He had a fine personality, and was a very great favorite. A most important con- tribution to be noticed in his life is that we owe to him the discovery of the fact that pure alcohol instantly neutralizes the caustic effect of carbolic acid, thus making the acid available for the sterili- zation of infected areas -without risk of systemic poisoning or serious local dam- age. Powell discovered this fact in the following manner: ^^Tiile at the Post- graduate hospital preparing for an opera- tion, he held out his hands to receive the modicum of 5 per cent, solution of carbolic acid to sterilize them before do- ing the operation. His resident inad- vertantly poured his hands full of pure liquefied carbolic acid. Dr. Powell instantly dropped the acid on the floor and immersed his hands in a bath of alcohol, which stood nearby. The skin of the hands was not injured in the least, and in this way the discovery was made. Arguing from this, he introduced the carbolic acid treatment of leg ulcers, the