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Book Review
June 2002

America's First Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology: The Story of Guthrie and Carrel

Author Affiliations

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Arch Surg. 2002;137(6):750-751. doi:10.1001/archsurg.137.6.750

Hugh E. Stephenson, Jr, MD, professor emeritus of surgery at the University of Missouri (Columbia), and Robert S. Kimpton, MEd, a journalist, have written a compelling story about 2 gifted physicians: Alexis Carrel, a surgeon born and educated in France, and Charles Guthrie, an American holding both an MD and a PhD in physiology. These men collaborated on a series of pioneering animal studies in vascular surgery and limb and organ transplantation in the early 1900s at the University of Chicago (Chicago, Ill). The result of this landmark work was that Dr Carrel was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1912, an occurrence that gave him worldwide fame and eventually led to his becoming an almost mythic figure. By contrast, Dr Guthrie, despite being an educator and researcher of the first rank throughout his professional life, received little recognition for the work he jointly performed with Carrel. Herein lies the mission of the book: to bring long-overdue recognition to Guthrie for his strong collaborative role and to suggest that he should have been a corecipient of the Nobel Prize. The authors end their book by asking the following rhetorical questions: "Is it yet too late for rectification? . . . couldn't a duplicate Prize be awarded posthumously?"

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