Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/402

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SENN


35S


SENN


introduced the hydrogen gas test, were the work of a master. Surgical tubercu- losis was for some time his especial study and he developed and practised many of our modern ideas on the surgical aspect of this condition. His studies on tumors including the first comprehensive writing on the subject in this country, were enough to make him famous.

In military surgery his record was especially brilliant, for his contributions to improve first aid on the battle field and his extensive experiments which devel- oped our modern conservative methods in the treatment of bullet wounds com- manded the attention of the surgical world.

Senn's experimental work on dogs, "Intestinal Anastomosis by means of Decalcified Bone Plates" brought this department of surgery into notice throughout the civilized world and became the foundation of that brilliant and wonderful work that is being per- formed in every quarter of the globe. Another brilliant conception was the "Inflation of the Gastrointestinal Tract with Hydrogen Gas as a Means of Detect- ing Perforation."

Yet the world knows little of his unselfish labors. In a laboratory con- structed under the sidewalk by his Milwaukee house, night after night he carried on his original investigations. In 1902 he spent five months becoming acquainted with the hospitals of Europe, Asia Minor and Egypt. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he left a large practice and hurried south doing heroic service in the face of usual ineffi- ciency of the ambulance supplies. Once, escorting Spanish wounded to Santiago as exchange prisoners he made friends with the young surgeon, Rodondo, in charge of the Spanish ambulance. " Not Nicholas Senn of Chicago?" asked the Spaniard. "Then if the army is com- posed of men such as you we certainly cannot hope for success." The ac- quaintance ripened into friendship and Rodondo translated Senn's "Practice of Burger}'" into Spanish.


Of his liberality, the Senn collection of books in the Newberry Library, on which collection he spent S50,000, is a lasting memorial. This was not liis only gift. The Senn Memorial building for scientific purposes; the Senn professorship; the Senn fellowship and the Senn rooms in St. Joseph's Hospital for the perpetual use of sick members of his own profession represent in all an outlay of $50,000 and an endowment of $75,000.

The ultimate cause of his death on January 2, 1908, was chronic interstitial myocarditis, though the end was hastened by his ascending a peak of the Andes, some 16,000 feet high when on a trip round the coast of South America. His wife, Aurelia S. Muehlhauser, survived him.

His appointments included: resident physician to Cook County Hospital, Wis- consin; attending physician, Milwaukee Hospital, Wisconsin; professor of sur- gery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Chicago; professor of surgery and chnical surgery. Rush Medical College: and he was founder of the Association of Mihtary Surgeons of the United States. Member of the Royal Medical Society, Buda- pest; Glasgow Academy of Medicine; Imperial Royal Medical Society of Vienna.

Some of the results of his research were given to the world in the following: "Experimental and Chnical Study of Air EmboHsm;" "Fractures of the Neck of the Femur with Special Reference to Bony Union after Intra-capsular Frac- tures;" "Surgery of the Pancreas based on Clinical and Experimental Re- searches;" "Experimental Enquiry con- cerning Elastic Constriction as Hemo- static Measure;" "Surgical Treatment of Intestinal Obstruction;" "Experimental Contribution to Intestinal Surgery;" "Surgical Bacteriology;" "Principles of Surgery;" "Tuberculosis of Bones and Joints." The list of his writing occupies three pages in the Catalogue of the Sur- geon-general, Washington, D. C.

D. W.

Compiled from: Obituary Notices, Nicholas Senn, by Dr. S. M. Wylie, 111., 1908.