Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/592

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WOOD


bright, ho learned with groat rapidity, entered Bowdoin when less than fifteen, and graduated in the class of 1829. He then studied medicine at the Medical School of Maine and took his M. D. in 1823, soon afterwards going to Europe and spending most of his time in tlie hospitals of Paris for nearly three years. He set out for home in the winter of 1836 and encountered many storms, so that the voyage lasted seventy-two days, and the ship with all on board was given up for lost.

He began practice upon his return, and with his inherent zeal and large acquirements in medicine, ultimately obtained a large clientele. A skilled diagnostician, he made daily use of the microscope, and by this means gained an insight into the diseases of many patients who had been given up by others who had failed to make microscopic examina- tions of excretions. One case in par- ticular, towards the end of his medical career is worth reporting; a gentleman highly thought of by his fellowmen was suffering hopelessly, and Dr. Wood was called in consultation. The minute that he looked at the patient, he exclaimed to the family physician, " Sir, can you not see that your patient is dying from uremia?" "How long since, in the name of God, did you use the catheter?" This patient died, for he was too far gone for relief, but this incident shows the diag- nostic skill of William Wood.

All that he wrote, or had in the way of operations or what he said in discussions at the meetings of the Maine Medical Association, are lost because the trans- actions were not then deliberately printed.

It would not do to pass unnoticed Dr. Wood's great love for natural history. To this branch of science he gave much time and in it he was an expert. He was the founder of the Maine Natural History Society. He was fond of botany, and had a collection of medicinal plants in his fine garden. In the second story of his house he had a large room looking out on the garden and round about it books


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were piled with great profusion. He had more than one microscope and I have heard him say that he had as much enjoyment out of a microscope costing him a few dollars, as from one of the more expensive, costing hundreds.

Dr. Wood married Mrs. Mary Stan- wood Jordan and had four children, and it was a matter of regret to him that his son did not become a doctor.

To sum up the character of this well- known physician, we should say that he represented all that was best in medicine, an excellent practitioner, careful student, a rare diagnostician, and a genial pains- taking man; fond of books, and always ready to look on the hopeful side of disease at the patient's bedside.

He died simply from old age, in 1899, after a brief illness, leaving a most charming and agreeable memory among natural history students and medical men.

J. A. S. Trans. Maine Med. Assoc.

Wood, William Maxwell (1809-1880).

The father of this surgeon-general of the United States Navy, was Gen. Wood, a prominent merchant of Baltimore, who had come to this country at a very early age. His son AVilliam, the eldest of eight children went to the Bel Air Academy, Harford County, Maryland, and graduated in medicine at the Uni- versity of Maryland in 1829. He at once entered the medical corps of the navy and served as surgeon in four wars, the Seminole, the Mexican, the Chinese and the Civil. As surgeon on board the Minnesota, he witnessed the famous battle between the Merrimac and Moni- tor. He was commissioned medical director and surgeon-general of the navy May 21, 1871, and retired March 3, of the same year. He died at Owing's Mill near Baltimore March 1, 1880. Gen. Wood wrote " Wandering Sketches of People and Things in Soutli America," "Polynesia," "California and Other Places" (1849); and "Fankwei or the San Jacinto in the Seas of India, China and