September 1963

Alexis St. Martin An Addendum to Medical History

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(3):436-437. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860030190024

Every physician knows the story of William Beaumont (1785-1853), the United States Army surgeon who in 1822, in one of the most curious and rewarding collaborations in medical history, was called upon to treat the French-Canadian voyageur, Alexis St. Martin, for a gunshot wound of the stomach. Beaumont's publication of his observations in the case, Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion (Plattsburgh, NY, 1833) ranks him with Benjamin Franklin and Weir Mitchell as one of the three Americans whose writings had a profound influence upon the medical thought of Europe before 1900.

In reading the epic story I have always been intensely interested in the "human guinea pig," the Canadien, St. Martin, and have had the feeling that commentators have done something less than justice to the man. I have, therefore, been pleased to receive recently some further data concerning this humble benefactor of

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