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February 1, 1965


JAMA. 1965;191(5):408-409. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080050054019

Surgery in the Middle Ages was a despicable trade exploited by quacks and barbers. Henri de Mondeville was the first French surgeon of note, followed by one of greater stature and influence, Guy de Chauliac, a medical scholar who practiced surgery and treated fractures, inflammations, and tumors. His doctrine, revealed in La Grande Chirurgie, which was composed in the fading years of his life as a solace to his solitude, was dominant in Europe for generations.1

Guy was born in the village of Chauliac, on the frontier of Auvergne, and died in Lyon. The years immediately preceding were spent in the papal city of Avignon, where he served Popes Clement VI, Innocent VI, and Urban V. Guy's family was poor, but, under the protection and with the support of the Church (the only course that was open in his day for training in anatomy and medicine), he received the