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Surgical Reminiscence
September 2001

Lester Is Coming

Arch Surg. 2001;136(9):1087. doi:10.1001/archsurg.136.9.1087

ON A COLD midwestern fall morning as I sat in my research cubicle, Charles Wilheminj, my advisor, came in and said, "Lester is coming over this afternoon for a short visit. I would like for you to spend time reviewing your work; pick his brain for ideas and defend your hypothesis." I immediately knew he was referring to Lester Dragstedt, the legendary surgeon-physiologist who had recently published his seminal research on truncal vagotomy in experimental animals and the early results he obtained in the surgical management of duodenal ulcer complications. For me, as a surgical resident interested in gastric physiology, he was a legendary figure. This was a significant opportunity for an embryonic researcher. My advisor had given me short notice. There was no Internet, Palm Pilot, etc; for instant reference, I had only Index Medicus to turn to!

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