Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Coffey compendium

When adding notes on the contents of the Collected papers of R.C. Coffey, to December 31, 1923 and finding ourselves muttering "Oh, that sounds interesting!" at every other article title, we begin to wonder whether we missed our calling as a surgeon or whether we've simply been working here too long.

Of course, there's always the third possibility: there really are some interesting things in this compendium, assembled by the author and donated by him to the library on July 31, 1924. Coffey was himself an interesting character, as we've mentioned before, and an accomplished surgeon. So, it's not surprising that this collection covers a lot of ground: new techniques for established surgeries, ideas for new surgeries, early use of radiation in cancer treatment, even new surgical equipment (see "Needle holders and needles - a needle holder with normal curve jaws, curved needles with round shaft").

Coffey's piece on the "Psychology of habit in surgical technique", published in the Sept. 6, 1902, issue of JAMA, is a reflection on surgical education and the dangers of blind habit: "Habit is a part of nature herself; is always true, therefore nothing can be safely delegated to habit which is subject to change. A surgical operation cannot be delegated to habit because we rarely find two conditions exactly alike. It always requires reason."

The unexpected "List of prominent surgeons and gynecologists over the United States" is just that, in the form of a small booklet (10.5 x 15 cm.). In the "Introductory", Coffey explains that "Some months ago, I desired to write surgeons in every state of the union, but found it impossible to find such a list. I therefore sent out several hundred copies of the following letter to men of established reputation in different states: ..." Since Coffey was based here in Oregon, we think that he must have personally compiled this state's list; it's interesting (again with that word!) to see whom he thought worthy of inclusion.

You can test your own fascination level: the complete contents are below. This fat bound volume (10.5 cm wide) has now been transferred from offsite storage to the Pacific Northwest Archives Collection.

Table of contents:

Stomach and duodenum:
Gastric surgery of the present day
Surgical treatment of ulcers along the lesser curvature of the stomach
A plea for more direct methods in dealing with gastric ulcers and cancer
Chronic gastric and duodenal ulcer
Gastro-enterostomy still the treatment for chronic gastric and duodenal ulcer

Intestine and rectum:
A crushable button as an aid to suturing in intestinal anastomosis
The relative merits of the various methods of intestinal anastomosis
A preliminary report of results with extravisceral ligature in entero- and gastro-enterostomy
Extravisceral rubber ligature in gastro-enterostomy
Intestinal intussusception
Remote or indirect subperitoneal drainage in the extra-peritoneal closure of persistent faecal fistulae
What shall we do with far advanced cancer of the large bowel
Cancer of the gastro-intestinal tract
The major procedure first in the two-stage operation for relief of cancer of the rectum
The two-stage operation in abdominal surgery: a many-stage operation for making and closing a temporary or therapeutic ileostomy opening
A permanent colostomy or enterostomy which may be closed by an extraperitoneal operation
Treatment of cancer of the rectum

Ptosis and stasis:
Gastroptosis: a method of suspending the stomach in a hammock made of the great omentum
Ptosis of the abdominal and pelvic organs
Ileosigmoidostomy with obliteration of the ileocecal communication, for the treatment of ulcers of the colon
Surgical treatment of ptosis of the stomach and colon
The principles underlying the surgical treatment of gastro-intestinal stasis, due to causes other than strictural or ulcerative conditions
The significance of the fixation of certain abdominal organs in the human body
Fundamentals of the ptosis question
The relation of right-sided abdominal pain to right-sided disease
Monograph on "Gastro-enteroptosis" published by D. Appleton and Company, New York City, 1923

The treatment of accumulations of pus in the pelvis
Retro-displacement of the uterus ; Ventro-suspension of the uterus
Suture of the solid viscera
Contribution to the surgery of pyosalpinx
Excision of a v-shaped piece of the posterior uterine wall for anteflexion of the cervix, with the aid of an intrauterine holder
The principles on which the success of the surgical treatment of retro-displacements of the uterus depends
Plication of the round and anterior fold of the broad ligament on the anterior surface of the uterus for retrodisplacement
Surgical treatment of acute gonorrhoeal tube infections with a quarantine pack
Radium as a therapeutic agent
The relative fields of radium, surgery and cautery in treatment of cancer of the cervix

Uretral [sic] implantation:
Submucous or physiological implantation of ureter into the large intestine
Transplantation of the ureters into the large intestine in the absence of a functioning urinary bladder

Pancreato-enterostomy and pancreatectomy
"Surgery of the pancreas", Section X, in J.F. Binnie's book, vol. II, "Treatise of regional surgery", published by P. Blakiston's Son & Co., 1012 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa., 1917

Surgery of the large bowel - clinic held before a group of invited surgeons at the Portland Surgical Hospital, Portland, Oregon, Febr. 24, 1921
Report of a clinic held at the Portland Surgical Hospital, Saturday, October 14, 1922
Report of a clinic held at the Portland Surgical Hospital, February 8, 1923, with a discussion of the unfortunate lot of the cancer patient

The importance of proper temperature in the administration of salt solution: an accurate method of determining temperature
Psychology of habit in surgical technique
Needle holders and needles - a needle holder with normal curve jaws, curved needles with round shaft
List of prominent surgeons and gynecologists over the United States
The present status of the treatment of appendicitis: the family physician's responsibility
The principles and mechanics of abdominal drainage
President's address - organization and centralization of medicine and surgery of the Northwest
Intestinal obstruction produced by a gauze sponge within the lumen of the free intestine
Impressions gathered on a recent trip to some of the surgical clinics of Europe and America
Abdominal adhesions
Intravisceral and intra-abdominal pressure
The acute abdomen
Treatment of cancerous and precancerous lesions - importance of educating the public
Intra-abdominal and intravisceral pressure

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