Thursday, March 18, 2010

Surgical Treatment, 1918-1919

Yesterday morning, we received the three-volume work, Surgical treatment: a practical treatise on the therapy of surgical diseases for the use of practitioners and students written by James Peter Warbasse from 1918-1919. The books were a donation from Slate Wilson, MD, adjunct professor of surgery at OHSU.

OHSU already holds Warbasse’s The doctor and the public, published in 1935. Surgical treatment was really the culmination of Warbasse's thought on the practice of medicine and the technic of surgery in his day. In the preface, he writes: “Surgery is an art based upon a complex of sciences. It is always in a developmental stage. Accordingly the author has endeavored to inspire the reader with the spirit of originality, to teach him not only how to do, but to suggest to him new lines of action, to set him thinking on the problem of treatment from his own standpoint.”

The work includes 2400 illustrations, and has sections on:

  • General principles of surgical treatment
  • Asepsis ant antisepsis
  • Surgical materials, their preparation and sterilization
  • Anesthesia and anesthetics
  • Wounds and operations
  • Inflammations
  • Surgical fevers and infections
  • Fistulas and sinuses, ulceration and gangrene
  • Nutritive disturbances [including scurvy, rickets, acromegaly, giantism, dwarfism, cretinism]
  • Tumors
  • Blood and blood-vessels
  • Lymphatic system
  • Diseases of bones
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Diseases of joints
  • Operations on bones and joints
  • Muscles, tendons, fasclae and bursae
  • Skin and its appendages [!]
  • Nerves

Warbasse was an 1889 graduate of Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and served with the Seventh Army Corps in the Spanish-American War; he was also chief of surgery at German Hospital in New York from 1906. He was a controversial figure in his day, primarily for his political and social views; he was actually expelled from his local medical society in 1918 for his opposition to compulsory military training. A short biographical sketch of Warbasse was published in 1996 in the American Journal of Public Health.

The donated copy of Surgical treatment was previously owned by Salem practitioners Carl L. Holm (a 1945 graduate of University of Oregon Medical School) and William Boyd Mott (a 1916 graduate of a California medical school). Once cataloged, the volumes will reside in the Trunkey Rare Book Collection.

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