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May 1996


Arch Surg. 1996;131(5):569. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430170115023

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George Ryerson Fowler (1848-1906) was a New York City surgeon remembered for completing the first thoracoplasty and for describing Fowler's position: an inclined position obtained by raising the head of the bed from 2 to 2½ feet to ensure better dependent drainage after an abdominal operation. In 1894, Fowler was serving as an examiner in surgery to the medical examining board of the regents of the University of the State of New York when he wrote a Treatise on Appendicitis. This was the first American work to deal exclusively with appendicitis, with Fowler having already completed over 200 laparotomies for appendicitis. The monograph, containing one of the earliest representations of an infected appendix sketched in color, proved so popular that a second edition was published in 1900.

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