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Surgical Reminiscence
May 1999

Cattell and Surgical Technique

Arch Surg. 1999;134(5):577. doi:10.1001/archsurg.134.5.577

RICHARD Bartley Cattell (Figure 1), surgeon-in-chief (1935-1960) of the Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Mass, was arguably the finest technical surgeon of his day. He made complicated surgical procedures look easy, with a precise, unhurried style that made the clock seem motionless. This proficiency was maintained despite an illness in later years that made the use of his left hand difficult. Opinions concerning his greatness were supported by his excellent operative results and outstanding worldwide reputation in an era when surgical technique was of major importance.