JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
About twenty years ago one of the most celebrated surgeons in London
made a public address in which he stated that surgery had reached its limits.
To-day one of the most famous surgeons of this country announces that the
birth of modern surgery dates back barely a quarter of a century.
W. W. Keen, M.D., LL.D., ex-president of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION,
in his critical survey of the "Progress of Surgery,"1 traces in
broad lines the effect of the two great discoveries in surgery—anesthesia
and antisepsis—to their individual results in each branch of surgery;
and shows what few surgeons themselves realize how vastly the proportion of
human suffering has been lessened, and how greatly human life has been lengthened
by the appliances of these discoveries. The desire to bring relief to suffering
is too widely human to permit of a narrow national pride, but it can not,
nevertheless, fail to be an incentive to American surgeons to remember that
some of the most brilliant achievements have come from their fellow countrymen.
SURGERY OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.. JAMA. 2001;285(7):856. doi:10.1001/jama.285.7.856