Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/589

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WOOD .-)

various schools, getting his classics from a Scotch minister. There is no mention of his going to college, but he studieci medicine with Dr. Valentine Seaman and was licensed to practise by the New- York State Medical Society in 1815. The medical apprentice in those days had plenty to do, and Isaac, besides cleaning the consulting rooms and collecting the bills, had to compound medicines and find time for study. He used to sit uj) till two or three in the morning studying and studying with special zeal after he had had success as a "resurrectionist," for not only was it against law and pop- ular opinion to obtain a body, but dangers were incurred before a thorough examin- ation could be made. One night he went out with two other students and having secured a body from the cemetery tied its hands and feet together and fastening it (a small subject) round his neck so as to be suspended in front, threw a large cloak over all and walked down Broadway at night, locking arms with his two friends and passing within three yards of the night watchman who looked upon them and their singing as the pranks of gay youths returning from a party. On two occasions he was forced to flee the city, having been betrayed by his colored assistant.

So eager was Wood to study each dissection when he was surgeon at the New York Hospital that he would often go without food all day and scale the hospital gate at 4 a. m. to study with his colleague Dr. J. C. Bliss. He received his M. D. in 1816 from Rutger's College, New Jersey; his thesis being "Carditis and Pericarditis."

When in 1832, the cholera broke out in New York, Dr. Wood predicted its ravages at Bellevue Hospital and in confirmation of his apprehension out of 2,000 inmates 600 died, Wood, at that time physician there, was himself one of the first to fall ill; the dead and the dying were often in the same room and coffins could not be made fast enough.

While at Bellevue, Wood performed nearly all the surgical o|)erations that


were required. It is generally conceded that he was the finst to remove the ends of the bone in lacerated injury of the elbow-joint. His first case succeeded so well that the patient could use his arm during ordinary labor, not having lost the power of flexion.

When there was talk of founding a New York Academy of Medicine, Wood entered with great zeal into its organiza- tion and was twice its president and among other appointments he was con- sulting physician to the Now York Di.s- pensary and Bellevue Hospital; consult- ing surgeon to the New York Ophthalmic Hospital; member of the American Geographical Society and fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Wood married three times and had four children.

D. W.

Distinguished Living New York Physicians,

8. W. Franeis.

Med. and Surg. Reporter, Phila., 1.S60, vol.


Wood, James Rushmore (1813-1883).

The sports of the boy often determine tlie vocation of the man, and James Wood industriously making skeletons to stock a boy's "museum" at his aunt's farm is seen afterwards as one of America's big surgeons and the childish collection has grown into the "Wood Museum" of Bellevue Hospital. His father, Elka- nah Wood, w^as a miller, who, with his wife, Mary Rushmore, were Quakers and when they moved from Mamaroneck to New York City to set up a leather store, James, their only child, spent his summers at Half Hollow Hills on Long Island, for his winter schooling going to a small Qualasr school, and from there to study medicine with twelve other lads under Dr. David L. Rogers. His first course of lectures was at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and in 1834 he graduated at Castleton, Vermont, soon after being appointed demonstrator of anatomy and beginning private practice a year or two later.

As a hospital surgeon Dr. Wood had