Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/538

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Lives of Eminent American Phys., S. 1).


Am. Jour, of Clinical Med., June, 1009

(George F. Butler).

Warren, John Collins (177S-1S56).

Amonj; the men of past generations few led more steadily laborious and useful lives than John Collins Warren. He was born in Boston in 1778, on the first of August, the eldest son of that interesting John Warren who served in the Revolution and founded the Harvard Medical School.

Warren was intended by his father for a mercantile life, but passed a couple of years at French and the pretended study of medicine, as he himself says. Then he went to Europe and settled down to serious work, in 1799. London claimed him first, where he became a pupil of William Cooper, and later of William Cooper's nephew, Astley Cooper. War- ren secured a dresser's position at Guy's Hospital — it was merely a matter of money down — and served at such work and dissecting for something more than a year, then went to Edinburgh for a year, where he received his medical degree, and for a final year to Paris. In the two latter places he studied hard — going in for chemistry, general medicine and midwifery, as well as anatomy and surgery. He lived in Paris with Dubois, Napoleon's distinguished surgeon, and studied anatomy with Ribes, Sabatier, Chaussier, Cuvier and Dupuytren; medi- cine with Corvisart, and botany with Desfontaines. That was a brilliant gathering for the edifying of a young gentleman from Boston.

In 1802, Warren came home, and found his father in very poor health. In order to relieve him he immediately assumed a great part of his practice.

The years between 1802 and 1810 were important years to Warren. To begin with, he married, in 1803, a daughter of Jonathan Mason, and began the rearing of his many children. With Jackson, Dixwell, Coffin, Bullard and Howard, he formed a Society for Medical Improve- ment. In 1806 he was made adjunct to his father in the chair of anatomy and

surgery at Harvard, and succeeded to the full professorship, upon his father's death, in 1815.

Warren's name will always be associ- ated with two important facts: the founding of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the introduction of ether anesthesia. These two events were separated by an interval of twenty-five years, but around them both are grouped nearly all that is conspicuous in Boston medicine during the first fifty years of the last century.

In 1809, while still comparatively fresh from European teachers, he pub- lished a valuable paper on organic dis- eases of the heart, a subject, which until then was little understood in this country; and in 1811, together with Jackson, Gorham, Jacob Bigelow and Channing, he assisted in founding the " New Eng- land Journal of Medicine and Surgery." This publication was ably edited and in 1828 was united with another, under the title, "The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal."

As a writer, Warren was lucid and strong. He had a great many things to say and he said them well.

He was a very able surgeon of the painstaking type. In those days all operations, even the most inconsiderable from our point of view, were serious matters.

With all care and method, Warren was not a timid operator. His amputa- tions were bold and brilliant; he removed cataracts with great success; taught and practised the operation for strangulated hernia — the first surgeon in this country to do so, and against strong professional opinion here; introduced the operation for aneurysm according to Hunter's method. His excisions of bones for tumor, especially of the jaw, became famous and are classics — for are they not recorded in volumes of the " Boston Medical and Surgical Journal"? In 1837, when fifty-nine years old, he published his magnum opus, " Surgical Observa- tions on Tumors," a thick octavo with plates — a great collection of cases and