[Skip to Navigation]
September 1952

SURGERY IN THE OHIO VALLEY: Its Importance in the Development of American Surgery

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch Surg. 1952;65(3):348-357. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1952.01260020362002

ALTHOUGH surgery as we know it today was impossible before the widespread employment of anesthesia and aseptic principles, its complex history extends well into antiquity. American surgery, however, can be said to date only from 1768, at the very earliest, when the first class was graduated from the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania, the first American school of medicine to be established. Even the training of these men was carried on by European professors, according to European concepts, and was dependent on European instruments and supplies. Independent development was possible only after the American and French Revolutions had disrupted connections between the Old and the New Worlds. In this development, Britain and France were the principal sources of influence. Finally, it was with the opening of the trans-Allegheny Territory to settlement and with the beginning of the westward pioneer movement that American medicine and surgery really began to