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November 1966

Historical Events in Biliary Tract Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York.

Arch Surg. 1966;93(5):848-852. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01330050152025

CONSIDERABLE evidence is available that man in various areas of the world has suffered from calculous biliary tract disease even before the era when history was first recorded. The current treatment of this condition which is now accepted to be surgical is a development of the last 100 years. The control and/or prevention of this pathological condition in the future is to be expected. The general course of events in man's conquest of his diseases has followed a rather consistent pattern. First, there has been the discovery and description of pathology; second, the definition of the alterations of physiology; and third, the correlation of these with the clinical manifestations and the complaints and symptoms of the patient.

The early efforts of medical science may now seem faltering and inept to modern students but they became the foundation for future developments. The plagues that ravished Europe in the 14th and 16th