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March 23, 1940

Pioneers in Acute Abdominal Surgery

JAMA. 1940;114(12):1103. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810120075035

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This fascinating monograph is based on the Bolingbroke Lecture delivered by the author before the South-West London Medical Society in May 1938. It illustrates graphically the truism that the historian occupies a more authoritative position than the prophet, for in this monograph there are detailed the deeds of bold adventurers in surgery which, though uninviting at the time, became milestones in the successful progress of abdominal surgery. The steps leading to the successful management of obstruction of the colon, intussusception, strangulation of the intestine, perforative peritonitis, ectopic gestation and appendicitis are presented in their logical order and the figures of the medical men who were leading actors in the drama are shown in the interesting illustrations.

With the exception of Pasteur's and Lister's work leading to asepsis in surgery, perhaps the most important single contribution in the development of abdominal surgery was the development of the Lembert stitch. In 1812

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