Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/516

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with the surgeon proper or "surgeon of the long robe" in the fields of minor surgery and both ranked far below the physician. In fact, surgery was largely abandoned to a class of ignorant barbers, bathers and bone-setters. Many operators were itinerant, going from city to city and frequently limiting their work to one or two kinds of operation, as that for cataract, or stone, or hernia. Military surgery without anesthesia or antisepsis was a horror of rough and ready emergency operations with boiling oil or heated iron as styptic and cautery, a torture beyond imagination. Indeed, to get an idea of the horrors of surgery in the lazaretto of the battle field even down to the year 1812, the date of Napoleon's descent upon Moscow, one needs but to read Tolstoy's work "War and Peace."

Thus we find the stage set for Vesalius and Paré, who with Hunter, though he entered somewhat later, laid the foundation, which, when anesthesia and antisepsis were added in the nineteenth century, gave surgery its right to claim a scientific basis. Vesalius, occupying a chair of surgery at Padua, developed anatomy as an exact observational science; indeed he may be considered as the founder of modern anatomical research. This was his great work; this and his influence in weakening the old speculative medicine and in establishing the principles of the scientific method. It was not an immediate influence, for upon the publication (1543) of his Pabrica Humani Corporis "the wrath of intrenched conservatism descended upon him" and he was forced to leave Padua, but his work was not in vain, for it hastened the development of surgical science and gave to anatomy the impetus necessary for its development as an observational science.

Ambroise Paré (1510-1590) began life as an humble barber-surgeon, and ended as the greatest surgical authority of Europe and the best loved man in* France. (Mumford.)

Why the greatest authority? Because he went through the world with his eyes open. Why the best beloved? Because of his own unaided efforts he did away with more actual pain than has perhaps any other single individual except the discoverer of anesthesia. His methods were those of the practical clinician—observation as the basis of deduction unhampered by tradition. The story is told that Paré in his first military campaign followed the old custom which prescribed the use of boiling oil for all wounds. But after one severe engagement the oil gave out and he used, fearful of the consequences, a simple ointment. To his surprise he found that the wounds so treated healed more rapidly than under the old treatment. On this basis of simple observation and sound reasoning, he combated, against great opposition, the old treatment and established simple rules for the care of wounds. So also was it with the ligation of vessels after amputation. The custom had been to cauterize with the red-hot iron, the effect of which both physically and mentally it is not difficult to imagine. Paré reasoned