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October 1996


Arch Surg. 1996;131(10):1047. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430220041008

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Valentine Mott (1785-1865) was one of 19th-century America's legendary surgical personalities. He received his MD degree from Columbia College, New York, NY, in 1809. He traveled abroad and furthered his medical education and training in Europe, where he became a private pupil of Astley Cooper (1768-1841). Mott was professor of surgery at Rutgers Medical College in New York when, in 1827, he authored in the Philadelphia Journal of the Medical and Physical Sciences the country's first report of an amputation at the hip joint. The patient was a 10-year-old boy who had fractured the midshaft of his femur and developed extensive osteomyelitis. Mott decided to amputate, and in this preanesthetic era described the operation as follows: "Little blood was lost... the bone was sawed through the lesser trochanter, where it was found to be of the consistency of cheese.... It is scarcely necessary to enter into the detail of... treatment

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