Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/431

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SKENE


379


SKILLMAN


societies, such as those of Paris, Leipzig, Brussels, Edinburgh, London, etc. Aberdeen University conferred on him the degree of LL. D. in 1897.

He was the author of " Diseases of the Bladder and Urethra in Women," 1878 and 1887; "Treatise on Diseases of Women," 1888, 1892 and 1898; "Educa- tion and Culture as related to the Health and Diseases of Women," 1889; "Medical Gynecology," 1895, and " Electro-hemo- stasis in Operative Surgery," 1899, and he wrote from a large experience and with great diligence. He wrote in the hours before breakfast to avoid interruption, and in writing, as in teaching, his method was clinical, detailed, practical. His huge capacity for work was due to a magnificent physique — his chest girth was forty-four inches. His eyes always twinkled with the memory of "last in class, first in field sports." Thus he was able to carry the burdens of college teaching, hospital operating, medical society duties, the large private sanitar- ium, and an extensive practice. Two days before he died sixty patients came to the office.

Dr. Skene married Annette Wilhelmine LilHan Van der Wegen, of Brussels, Bel- gium, who survived him. They had no children.

His country home was at Highmount, in the Catskills, where his love of the mountains had full scope, and where he could indulge his affection for animals. There he had more leisure for modelHng. His life-size portraits in marble are indeed noteworthy, in view of the scantiness of the time he could give to sculpture.

If one were to attempt an appreciation of Dr. Skene's work one might select certain items, such as the insistence on gynecologic and surgical methods in ob- stetric work (1877); the well-known observations on the urethral glands, a source of intractable trouble until recog- nized (1880); the many new instruments de\'ised, the systematic hemostatic treat- ment of blood-vessels and pedicles by heat of moderate degree that dries and does not char (1897).


In him progress! veness and originality were balanced with caution and clear sense. Two instances will suffice. In the days when we planned to cure most pelvic pain by removing the ovaries, he was credited with timidity because of his careful restriction of this universal remedy. Again, he was said to be behind the times during the epidemic of vaginal hysterectomy. Yet the profession has come back to the conservatism from which he would not swerve.

Breadth of view was his. From the early days when he was Austin Fhnt's assistant he studied his patient as an individual, and overlooked nothing in the general condition nor any detail of constitutional treatment. Such detailed care prepared the patient for operation (or avoided the necessity). His tech- nic was so quiet and seemingly simple that only a brother surgeon appreciated its speed and thoroughness.

Few men concealed more generous deeds. Strong in his Ukes and dishkes, tenacious of purpose, keen of insight, full of apt anecdote, tactful, discreet, hopeful, inspiriting, his impress was strong on those about him. Personal magnetism eludes biographies. The impress of vigor and simplicity, the attraction of kindliness and heartiness — these things may not be written.

A full list of his most important pamph- lets can be seen in the " Surgeon-general's Catalogue," Washington, D. C.

R. L. D.

Tr. Am. Gynec. Soc, Phila., 1901, vol. xxvi.

Amer. Gyn. and Obstet. Jour., N. Y., 1900,

vol. xvii.

Albany Med. Ann., 1901, vol. xxii.

J. Am. Med. Ass., Chicago, 1900.

Med. Record, New York, 1900.

Med. News, New York, 1900.

Pcst-graduate, New York, 1900.

Skilhnan, Henry Martyn (1824-1902).

Henry Martyn Skillman was the young- est child of Thomas T. and Elizabeth Far- rer Skillman. His father, a native of New Jersey, came to Lexington in 1809 and founded there the largest publishing house in the Mississippi Valley. Sprung as Dr.