American medical history in the nineteenth century

American skill and courage have been conspicuously exhibited in the healing art and science. In the invention and operation of surgical instruments, in appliances for the relief of pain, and minimizing the inconvenience caused by the loss of limb or organ, our surgeons stand in the front rank among the benefactors of humanity. So do our physicians, whose contributions to medical science are the pride of the profession the world over.

The United States had led the way in the ligation of the larger blood-vessels, some of the Americans who have gained distinction by the performance of such feats - each one of which was a triumph of surgery - are Amos Twitchell (1781-1850), first to tie the primitive carotid artery; John Syng Dorsey (1783-1818), first American to tie the external iliac artery; William Gibson (1784-1868), first to tie the common iliac artery; Valentine Mott (1785-1865) tied the arteria innominata; J. Kearney Rodgers (1793-1857) tied the left subclavian artery between the scaleni in 1846; John Murray Carnochan (1817-1887), ligation of the femoral artery in 1851; Hunter McGuire tied the abdominal aorta in 1868. This had been accomplished, in 1817, by Sir Astley Cooper. Not only are such wonders wrought with blood-vessels and frightful haemorrhages prevented, but cases of internal aneurism which were formerly thought hopeless are now cured. The later names of Gross, Jacobi, and Marion Simms, are familiar in every centre of learning.

The American dentist has led the way in the perfection of his art, and he is justly celebrated all over the world. The first native dentist in the United States in supposed to have been John Greenwood, who began to practise in 1788. Thirty-two years after there were one hundred follwers of his calling in the United States; in 1892 there were 18,000. So important has the science of the teeth grown that from 1800 to 1892 there were published two hundred volumes devoted to that subject alone. The first dental school in the United States was chartered by the Maryland Legislature in 1839. Since then colleges and schools of dentistry have sprung up all over the land. If there are as good dentists in other countries as there are in this, it is largely due to the fact that they have been trained in American schools. Men come from all over the civilized world to the United States for higher education in dentistry. American ingenuity has invented numerous mechanical aids to the practice of the art. From 1880 to 1890 over 500 dental instruments were patented. Horace Wells first used "laughing-gas" or an anaesthetic. Dr. Younger, of San Francisco, made the first artificial socket for a tooth.

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