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May 1997


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Surg. 1997;132(5):471-480. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430290017002

The year is 1877, the place is rural midwest America, it is night, it is dark, and it is bitterly cold. Let the storyteller expand further: Father often made post-mortem examinations, and even when we were little boys, Charlie and I attended these necropsies. One of them, when I was about 16 years old, I shall never forget. There used to be an old hotel, long since burned down, called the Bradley House, across the river on what is now Fourth Street. An old man who lived in the house as caretaker, died there. Father and I went over about 5 p.m. on a stormy night in November to do a post-mortem. Just as we left home, father received an urgent call, and when he had finished the examination, about ten, he left me alone in the hotel to close the abdomen, which had been the point of the examination,

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