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May 17, 1965


Author Affiliations

Louisville, Ky

JAMA. 1965;192(7):634. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080200052018

In 1888 Lawson Tait1 of Birmingham, England, considered the father of gynecologic surgery by the English, reported on 42 operations for ruptured ectopic gestation with cure in 40 patients and death in two. Tait's accomplishment was remarkable because his was the first successful surgical approach, and was performed without benefit of expert anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and blood transfusions. In 1881 Tait had observed a patient die, after he had refused to operate because of her condition. In 1883 the subject of his first exploration died.

I had blundered... the true method of operating in such a case was to separate adhesions rapidly, regardless of bleeding and make at once for the source of the hemorrhage, the broad ligament, tie it at its base, and then remove the ovum and debris at leisure.... My example has been widely followed, and the success is almost uniform.

Tait believed the diagnosis never

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