May 1997


Arch Surg. 1997;132(5):521. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430290067012

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Not every illustration accompanying a published surgical report in the 19th century was necessarily a work of art, nor were matters of "priority" any less important than in the 20th century. Augustus Bernays (1854-1907) and John Baldy (1860-1934) were locked in a sometimes angry debate regarding their respective claims for performing the first total gastrectomy in the United States. In the February 12, 1898, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (1898; 30:341-344), Bernays, professor of anatomy at the St Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons, St Louis, Mo, presented the case of a 42-year-old white male with a malignancy of the entire lesser curvature of the stomach, on whom he had performed a total gastrectomy leaving behind a small remnant of the pylorus. The patient survived 36 hours. Bernays and his coauthor, Hugo Summa, professor of pathology and clinical medicine at Marion-Sims College of Medicine in St Louis

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