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Moments in Surgical History
June 2000

William Gibson (1788-1868)

Arch Surg. 2000;135(6):743. doi:10.1001/archsurg.135.6.743

BORN IN BALTIMORE, Md, William Gibson began his study of medicine in his native city as an apprentice to a local practitioner John Owen (1775-1824), and in the winter of 1806-1807, attended surgical lectures given by Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837) at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Gibson completed his medical education in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he obtained his degree in medicine in 1809. His thesis was titled "Deforma Ossium Gentilitia," and John Bell (1763-1820) was his master in surgery. Gibson soon departed for London, where he became associated with Charles Bell (1774-1842), who apparently took him as a private pupil and even included him as a member of his household. The American also attracted the attention of Astley Cooper (1768-1841), who used him as a surgical assistant on private housecalls.

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