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SWEETNUM


427


SWEETNUM


In the beginning of his Hfe he was a plain mechanic, but not Uking manual labor, began to study medicine at first during his work, and later on with Dr. James Bradbury, of Parsonsfield, an early member of the Maine Medical Society. He also studied at Dartmouth with the celebrated anatomist, Alexander Ramsay in 1808 and, later on, at Ram- say's Medical School in Fryeburg, Maine. He was demonstrator of anatomy at Dartmouth while a student there, and also at Fryeburg, so that the knowledge of anatomy then gained made him remarkable as a surgeon.

He was a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and afterwards of the Maine Medical Society, and as his fame increased, he received an honorary M. D. from the Medical School of Maine in 1823, and from the Castleton, Vermont, Medical School in 1846. He was an expert in reducing fractures, and in setting dislo- cations, and was often called to great distances for accidents of this sort in which he possessed an extraordinarily acute power of diagnosis, and skill in manipulation.

He performed during his hfe time all of the operations of the day and had no superior in Maine. He married Eliza- beth Wedgewood, of Portland, in 1811, and had eleven children, the youngest of whom became a doctor.

Unfortunately, however, for the hopes of his father, this promising son who was beginning to take the drudgery of long journeys from his shoulders, died very early. From this shock Dr. Sweat never actually rallied to do his work as of old. His bright hopes were crushed; his interest for work was destroyed. The pleasurable contemplation of his former success in surgery was embittered, and became like Dead Sea fruit.

This manly physician and skiUful surgeon passed gently away August 25, 1865. J. A. S.

Trans. Maine Med. Assoc.

Sweetnam, Lesslie Matthew (1859-1901).

Lesslie Matthew Sweetnam, surgeon,

son of Matthew Sweetnam, Post Office


inspector, was born in Kingston, Ontario, on August 1, 1859.

As a lad he went to the Upper Canada College, Toronto, graduating M. B. from the University of Toronto and M. D. from Victoria College in 1881, afterwards doing post-graduate work in Great Britain, Europe, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and in 1885 marrying Margaret Victoria, daughter of C. H. Goodesham of Toronto, by whom he had one daughter who, to his great sorrow, died before him.

An untiring worker, he faithfully attended to the incessant demands of a large general practice, often making routine calls into the small hours of the night, yet building up a large surgical practice, paying visits to other cUnics and quick to adopt the best methods. An original thinker, he worked out a number of improvements in surgical technic. He showed that cases of extreme tym- pany might sometimes be reUeved by posture alone. In one instance he placed a patient who appeared to be in a dying condition in the knee-breast posture with prompt rehef to the accu- mulation of gases. He also devised the inflatable rubber balloon contained in a silk bag as a means of dilating rectal strictures without risk. Personally, he fearlessly followed duty wherever it led. He went to Colorado with a relative troubled with laryngeal tuberculosis who was most careless in his habits, confi- dently expecting to lose his own life in devotion to duty. The nurse, whom he warned of the risk, took the disease and died.

Sweetnam practically wore himself out in incessant labors for the sick. He contracted nephritis with attacks of extreme pain and hematuria and had but partially recovered when he was poisoned in amputating an arm of a tramp infected with the gas bacillus. This added burden was too much for the crippled kidneys and he died suddenly in a uremic convulsion on December 11, 1901.

He had rare surgical judgment, was a