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William Stewart Halsted
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Doctor
    (September 23, 1852-September 7, 1922)
    Born in New York City, New York
    Appointed first Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University (1892)
    First American surgeon to perform radical mastectomy for breast cancer
    Responsible for advances in thyroid, hernia, intestinal and arterial aneurysm surgery
    Died of complications following gallstone surgery
    At Yale, he was not considered a serious student and was known for having never checked a book out of the university library.
    While investigating the use of cocaine as an anesthetic, he became addicted.
    He treated his cocaine addiction with morphine and became addicted to that as well.
    He sometimes forgot he had patients scheduled for surgery and left them waiting in the hospital for a week or more.
    He insisted on sending his clothes to Europe for dry cleaning.
    He was captain of the football team at Yale.
    When Bellevue Hospital refused to create a sterile operating room, he spent $10,000 of his own funds for sterilization equipment that he set up in a tent on the hospital grounds (1877).
    He was one of the first surgeons to realize that, with the arrival of anesthetics, attention to detail had become more important than speed in operating.
    He introduced surgical gloves after a nurse complained about the dermatitis she developed from washing with mercuric bichloride as an antiseptic.
    At Johns Hopkins, he established the first surgical residency program in the US.
    H.L. Mencken wrote, 'The young men who went out from his operating room were magnificently trained, and are among the great ornaments of American surgery today.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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