Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/428

This page needs to be proofread.

SIMS :i7()

as surgeon-in-chief of the Anglo-American Ambuhince Corps in the Franco-Prussian War, Dr. Sims courageously promulgated these rules:

1. The wound of entrance should he enlarged sufficiently to ascertain the whole extent of the injuries inflicted.

2. These should be remedied by sutur- ing the wounded intestine and ligating bleeding vessels.

3. Dihgent search should be made for extravasated matter, and the peritoneal cavity should be thoroughly cleansed of all foreign matter before closing the external wound.

4. The surgeon must judge whether the case requires drainage or not.

In 1853 he established himself in Xev York City, and in February, 1855, organ- ized the State Hospital for Women, with this becoming the founder of the great science of gynecology. From the tempo- rary structure at 83 Madison Avenue, the hospital was removed to the block of ground donated to it by the city on 50th Street and Lexington Avenue, whence after nearly a half century it was removed to the magnificent new build- ing at 110th Street and Morningside Heights.

In 1861 Dr. Sims for the first time visited Europe, and on the eighteenth of October of that year, at the Hotel Vol- taire, successfully demonstrated his oper- ation for vesico-vaginal fistula. Among those who witnessed this operation were some of the greatest surgeons of that age, Nelaton, Velpeau, Civiale, Baron Larrey, Sir Joseph OUiff'e, Huguier and others. By this and other cases, his presence in Paris created a furore in medical circles. So great was the reputation achieved that he w^as called to all parts of Europe, not only to operate, but in consultation, and to treat various maladies in the de- partment of gynecology; in fact, a short time saw him enjoying a most lucrative practice among the best people in Euro- pean capitals. Upon one occasion, in attendance upon an important case, he became for several weeks the guest of the Emperor Napoleon at St. Cloud.


After the close of the Civil War in .America Dr. Sims returned to New York, but upon the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he sailed for Europe, and there organized and became surgeon-in-chief of the Anglo- American Ambulance Corps. He ren- dered such distinguished professional services, especially at and after the battle of Sedan, that the French Repub- lic conferred upon him the order of Com- mander of the Legion of Honor. From this time until his death, November 13, 1883, he lived alternately in Europe and America, busily engaged in practice of his profession wherever he found himself.

Dr. Sims contributed extensively to professional literature, not only as it related to obstetrics and gynecology, but to medical and surgical science in general. His most important professional work was entitled "Clinical Notes on Uterine Surgery."

Among the nianj^ official positions which he occupied was that of the presi- dent of the American Medical Associa- tion, in 1876.

Near the close of his long and eminent career as a practitioner and teacher of gynecology. Prof. T. Gaillard Thomas, in an address to the graduating class of the medical department of Cornell University, delivered at Carnegie Hall, said:

"If I were called upon to name the three inen who in the history of all times had done most for their fellow men, I would say George Washington, William Jenner and Marion Sims."

Immediately after his death a move- ment for the erection of a statue in his memory was inaugurated in Europe and in his native country, and in 1894 there was unveiled in Bryant Park, New" York City, a statue in bronze, a hfe-like image of the great teacher, the spon- taneous gift from his brothers in the pro- fession throughout the civihzed world, and from many of the unfortunate beings his genius and skill had benefited. In brief yet comprehensive phraseology, the inscription tells the story of his career: