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February 27, 1981

Owen H. Wangensteen, MD, PhD, dead at 82

JAMA. 1981;245(8):816. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310330008002

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Owen H. Wangensteen, MD, PhD, teacher, researcher, and surgeon, died of a myocardial infarction at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis on Jan 13. He was 82 years old. Wangensteen was chief of surgery at the University of Minnesota Hospital for almost 40 years.

Perhaps best remembered for the now-famous "Wangensteen tube" that facilitates conservative management of bowel obstruction with suction applied to an indwelling duodenal tube, he will also be remembered for his contributions in the treatment of stomach cancer.

Wangensteen was born on a small farm in Lake Park, Minn, in September 1898. Because of his interest in farm animals, he aspired to become a veterinarian. However, after auditing a surgical lecture, he changed his mind. He earned all his degrees at the University of Minnesota.

At age 31, Wangensteen was selected to head the Department of Surgery at the university—a position he held until he retired in 1967. Truly