Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/445

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SMITH


391


SMITH


Maryland, from 1833 to 1835; for the "Maryland and Virginia Medical Jour- nal," 1860-61, of which Dr. W. Chew Van Bibber was a co-editor, and for the " Baltimore Medical Journal," founded in 1870 by Drs. Howard and Latimer. In 1832 appeared his great work on the "Surgical Anatomy of the Arteries," quarto, of wliich a second edition ap- peared in 1835.

In 1867 he published a small volume of seventy pages, giving a description of the method of using his "Anterior Suspensory Apparatus in the Treatment of Fractures of the Lower Extremity, with Cuts and Diagrams." And finally he issued a little duodecimo in 1869, which he called "Legends of the South, by Somebody Who wishes to be Con- sidered Nobody." Early in his career at Baltimore he conceived the idea of writing a work on "Surgery" with good cuts, and did from time to time compose a large part of it, but it remained at his death among his unfinished papers.

In 1867, when eighty years old, he made his first and only visit to Europe. Although he sought in it only relaxation from his labors and amusement, he naturally visited many of the great European hospitals. His reputation had preceded him everywhere and he was received with the greatest deference, Sir James Paget in London being par- ticularly attentive and the French surgeons giving him the title of the "Nestor of American Surgery."

He continued his active work at the University for two years longer, when he resigned and was made emeritus professor and president of the Faculty. In 1870 he was elected president of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty, and the follow- ing year was re-elected to the same office, special provision being made in his case for this unusual honor. Not long after this, painful disease and infirmities of age began to oppress him. He still attended to office consultations, he wrote upon his surgery, he found pleasure in reviewing the classics, especially Homer and Virgil, and, above all, he found that


satisfaction and peace in the Christian religion which philosophy and science had been unable to secm-e for him. Thus engaged, the painful disease of the blad- der from which he suffered slowly advanced and finally mastered his vigor- ous constitution on the third of July, 1877, a few weeks after he had passed his eightieth year.

He always lectured without notes and in slow, deliberate fashion. His voice was of medium pitch and distinct, though not strong. He indulged in story and humor whenever the opportunity per- mitted, although he was never coarse, profane or obscene. The portrait of him at the university is an admirable likeness, and represents him in his characteristic attitude while lecturing.

He was among the first to perform subcutaneous section of the tendo Achillis for club-foot (1836); Stroh- meyer introduced it in Germany in 1831. Smith's reputation must rest chiefly on his lithotome and anterior splint. The former was first made known in the "Medical and Surgical Memoirs," 1831. By 1834 he had operated with this in- strument with complete success in every instance, twenty-three times. By 1860 he had operated with it over one hundred times. In all, he performed the opera- tion about 250 times, all except the first three or four being done with it, and with a relatively small mortality. A picture of this instrument is given in the " Memoirs "and also in the " Transactions of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty," 1878.

But the invention which he regarded as liis chief contribution to surgery was his anterior splint. He was engaged in perfecting this instrument for over thirty years and it was not completed until 1860. In 1867 he published his work on " Treatment of Fractures of the Lower Extremity by the Use of the Anterior Suspensory Apparatus." In tills he claimed that his invention was applicable to all fractures of the thigh and leg.

Smith was the founder of the Medical