Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/517

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RESEARCH IN MEDICINE

that as ligation of veins and arteries in simple wounds was possible, it was possible also at amputation, and at the first opportunity he demonstrated the correctness of his views. So by doing away with boiling oil and the heated iron he ranks among the greatest of humanitarians and, by establishing rational procedures for the treatment of wounds and for the ligation of vessels, as one of the greatest of surgeons.

Here it is well to depart from the chronological order and discuss John Hunter and his work and thus bring the advance in surgery to the year 1800. Between Paré and Hunter surgery was influenced by Haller and Harvey, but both these must be treated in detail in a consideration of other lines of activity. Suffice it to point out here that Harvey's work on the circulation of the blood and Malpighi's discovery of capillary circulation advanced surgery enormously by clearing up for the surgeon the mysteries of the blood-vascular system. The dread of hemorrhage had previously deterred surgeons from all operations except those of dire necessity or those in which the operation was in a gangrenous tissue. With this mystery of hemorrhage solved, the surgeon boldly ventured into new territory and rapidly extended the possibilities of his art.

John Hunter, pathologist, physiologist and surgeon, was active in the latter part of the eighteenth century. He worked in anatomy, comparative anatomy, physiology and surgery; essentially a laboratory investigator, "content" it is said "with four hours of sleep, scanty rations and little play." (Mumford.) Many were his contributions to anatomy, but his work on coagulation of the blood, inflammation and the repair of wounds, and, above all, the demonstration, that after ligation of vessels there occurs the establishment of a collateral circulation by anastomosis, were of the utmost importance to surgery. This latter, the basis of his famous operation for aneurism, was the result of a study of the growth of deer's antlers, in the course of which he tied one of the carotid arteries. To his surprise the cold antler of the ligated side, after two weeks, became warm. Dissection demonstrated that the ligature had not slipped, and on the basis of this observation he established those principles concerning the ligation of vessels in continuity so important in modern surgery. He also presented the first satisfactory explanation of inflammatory and thrombotic diseases of veins and contributed to the knowledge of gunshot wounds and of many other phases of medical science; but his great influence was the impetus which he gave to proper scientific research in medicine as well as surgery, in pathology as well as physiology.

To Hunter, the nineteenth century English school of surgery owes its fame, and in his honor the Royal College of Surgeons established the annual Hunterian Oration. After Hunter, and largely due to his influence, surgery advanced surely, though slowly, but without momen-