Dr. Willy Meyer was born July 24, 1858, in Minden, Westphalia, Germany. There his preliminary education brought him skill in Latin, Greek, and German, a little less in English and French, and instilled in him a desire for a professional career. His mother anticipated a musical career because of his proficiency at the piano. His own choice was due largely to the family friendship with Dr. Abraham Jacobi. The experience of being, at a young age, the shorthand secretary to this learned physician during one of his lecture tours in German clinics inspired Willy Meyer to choose a medical career. After a year at Erlangen, of which six months was in military service, he entered Bonn and received his Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1880. In a subordinate rank at Bonn, he worked with Wilhelm Busch, Surgeon General of the German Army, during the Franco-Prussian War; then with Madelung for nine months after which he went to Strasbourg with Frederich Trendelenburg for a fruitful 3 years.
In 1884, he came to the United States and engaged in general practice while working as an assistant in Surgery at the German dispensary. By 1886, success prompted him to limit his practice to surgery. For the next ten years, he taught as Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Women’s Medical College. At this time he was appointed an Attending Surgeon at the German Hospital and nine other hospitals. In 1923, he became consultant to all of them.
His contributions labelled him a stimulating investigator. In 1884, at the behest of Trendelenburg, he reported in Langenbeck's Archives the advantages of the Trendelenburg position which he was the first to demonstrate in America. In 1887, he introduced cystoscopy with the Nitze scope, which he modified.
On November 12th of 1894, at the New York Academy of Medicine, he presented his experience with an improved method of radical operation for carcinoma of the breast in a small series of patients. This occurred only 10 days after Halsted had reported, in the Annals of Surgery, his experience with a similar operation on 50 patients since 1888. Although the procedures were similar, Dr. Meyer accepted very graciously the priority of Dr. Halsted and lauded him for his effort. Willy Meyer's continuing interest in cancer brought forth his comprehensive book on the subject in 1931.
Following the death of his eldest daughter from acute appendicitis in 1895, Dr. Meyer initiated a series of papers which preached the merits of appendectomy advanced by Dr. Charles McBurney. This contributed greatly to our present concept of therapy. In 1897, he did the first uteral catheterization with the Caspar Scope which he also modified. He also introduced the Bottini operation for prostatic obstruction. In the same year, he publicized the gastrostomy methods of Wetzel, Marwadel, and Kader.
Willy Meyer's greatest contribution, however, was in thoracic surgery. In the 40 years between 1884 and 1924, the Annals of Surgery alone carried 357 references to his activities and discussions. Many were on thoracic subjects and were delivered before the New York and American Surgical Societies. Other journals have a similar record.
Among these, one finds the germs of the New York Society and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. They dealt with all types of diseases of the lung, mediastinum, chest wall, esophagus, and others. His intense interest in this field led him to found both Societies, which from his inspiration, have grown and contributed so much to medical knowledge.
Dr. Willy Meyer died on February 24, 1932, while attending a meeting at the New York Academy of Medicine. The subject was cancer, and much of the discussion had been of a discouraging and pessimistic nature. Dr. Meyer rose to defend, in his usual earnest manner, his hopes for the victims of cancer, and, while doing so, succumbed to the heart lesion which he had known would take his life at any moment.
Samuel James Meltzer
Dr. Samuel J. Meltzer was born in 1851 in Russia. His family emigrated to Germany where, bent on a medical career, he received his medical degree from the University of Berlin in 1882. As was the case with other Jews, he saw less future in Germany than in America and came to this country in 1883 by working his way as a ship's surgeon.
Within a short time, he had built up a very busy medical practice in New York. However, his primary interest was physiology, a result of his earlier work with Kronecker on the swallowing mechanism later known as the Kronecker-Meltzer theory of deglutition. With prodigious effort, he managed to carry on his studies, often in facilities borrowed from' the hospital or health department. By 1904, he welcomed an opportunity to reduce the load of general practice by accepting a half-time appointment in physiology at the Rockefeller Institute, then located at Lexington Avenue and 50th Street. Following dedication of Founder's Hall, on March 11, 1906, as the first unit of the present complex, he moved his operations to this new site. In 1907, he abandoned practice completely to become a full-time physiologist at the Institute, joining Flexner, Levine and Opie as a full member.
Meltzer was assisted in his diversified investigations by his daughter, Clara Auer and her husband, John Auer. Together, they studied the mechanism of swallowing, the formation of bile salts, the pattern of intestinal peristalsis and sugar metabolism. With Kleiner, he prepared a crude emulsion of pancreatic tissue which lowered the blood sugar in experimental diabetes three years before Banting and Best reported the discovery of insulin. The work with his daughter on the excitatory action of adrenalin on the blood vessels of the iris and its enhancement by sympathetic denervation provided the basis for the frog's iris test for adrenalin. This was the subject matter of the first published report from the Institute at its permanent location. A by-product of this effort was his demonstration that injected substances were absorbed more rapidly from muscles than the subcutaneous site. Meltzer's group also contributed to the observation that bronchial muscle spasm was the cause of death in anaphylactic shock in guinea pigs. Their deduction that human asthma has a similar mechanism has stood the test of time.
For thoracic surgeons, his most meritorious work was on intratracheal insufflation, the forerunner of present methods of anesthesia. In most of this work, he was aided by Dr. John Auer and it might be said that they backed into this contribution. They had published 25 papers covering their observations on the unconscious and relaxed state produced by the injection of magnesium sulphate and its reversibility by calcium. Its toxicity interdicted its anticipated use for anesthesia but it did find some application in the seizures of tetanus. Their knowledge of the inhibitory effects of magnesium on the respiratory center led to a study of the currently available methods of artificial respiration to prevent acute pneumothorax. They conceived the idea of blowing air into the trachea, which they dubbed intratracheal insufflation. To facilitate the method, they designed the Meltzer-Auer tube. Soon afterwards, they demonstrated that respiration could be satisfactorily maintained by this means, even with both the thoracic cavities of a dog widely open. This work was first reported in 1909 in the Medical Record. At about the same time, Sauerbruch was returning to New York with his differential chamber, following its demonstration in Chicago. Upon departing for Europe, he left his chamber with Willy Meyer, and, since Dr. Meyer had no place to put it, Dr. Meltzer provided space in his laboratory. There followed a brisk competition to determine which of these two methods would sustain respiration more adequately during open thoracic operations. Meltzer soon incorporated anesthetic capabilities in his method and urged its use. Experimentally, and then clinically, Carrel, Lilienthal, Elsberg, and eventually Meyer demonstrated the great superiority of insufflation. Therewith ended the dread of open pneumothorax and mediastinal flutter in thoracic operations.
A restless individual such as Meltzer required constant outlets for his energy. He organized The New York Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine which was called at the time "The Meltzer Verein". Out of an intense belief in the value of new discoveries, he banded a group of young people - the "Young Turks" - into the Society for Clinical Investigation. In an attempt to promote a better understanding of Germany, he organized the "Fraternitas Medicorum" which collapsed when America entered the war.
With a record such as this, it is little wonder that Samuel Meltzer became a charter member of both the NYSTS and the AATS. His election as first President of the latter organization certainly was justified and acclaimed, although his friendship with Dr. Meyer probably precipitated the event.
Dr. Samuel Meltzer died in 1920, after 69 fruitful years.
Dr. Rudolph Matas was born in Bonnet Carre, Louisiana, a short distance from New Orleans, on September 12, 1860. His parents, natives of Spain, returned to that country while Rudolph was yet very young. In 1867, the family came again to the United States where his father, also a physician, found his work necessitating moves from New Orleans to Texas to Mexico, and then back to New Orleans. In the latter city, young Matas entered, in 1877, the Medical School of the University of Louisiana, now Tulane University, receiving his M.D. in 1880 at the age of 19.
Dr. Matas' life remained at all times intimately associated with Tulane. He taught in the University Medical School for 42 years and valued no title more than "Professor" and "Professor Emeritus".
Dr. Matas was a surgical giant. In a short sketch such as this it is impossible to detail all his accomplishments, he ranged too widely. Although many contributed to the story of vascular surgery, Matas put it on the map on a solid foundation. His writings . on the subject have frequently led the uninformed to think of him only in this area. His bibliography of more than 600 titles on a wide variety of subjects reveals no such narrow interests. His devotion to the field of thoracic surgery brought about his election, in 1919, as third President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
With all of his accomplishments, one consideration was always uppermost in his mind: the welfare of each patient. This impelled him to engage in predominantly clinical surgery. He was deeply respected by all his students and associates. Those who knew him well, idolized him. Such a doctor could do nothing else but leave his estate to medicine, the service to which he had devoted most of the 97 years of his life.
Dr. Matas died on September 23, 1957, at the age of 97, a loss to the world of one of its most eminent pioneer thoracic and vascular surgeons.
Dr. Alexis Carrel was born at Ste.-Foy-les-Lyon, France, on June 28, 1873. He received his medical degree from the University of Lyon in 1900. After various unsatisfactory assignments, he left for Montreal in 1904 but almost immediately moved on to the department of physiology at the University of Chicago.
The death of Sadi Carnot, President of France, by the knife of an assassin had seemed to Carrel completely unnecessary and kindled in him a burning devotion to vascular surgery. After exhaustive work, he devised a meticulous technique of suture repair of lacerated vessels instead of ligation. Success in the anastomosis of both arteries and veins soon followed. In a lecture at Johns Hopkins in 1905, he reported on this work and also on the successful transplantation of a dog's kidney to a position in its .neck. On the basis of this work, Dr. Flexner offered him a fellowship at the Rockefeller Institute. He quickly accepted this offer and continued his work. In 1909, when he anastomosed the radial artery of a young New York surgeon to the popliteal vein of his 4 day old infant daughter to transfuse blood for melena neonatorum, the event received wide publicity (See Vascular Surgery, Pg. 89). He continued his work with heart-bypass and heart valve surgery. His success merited the award of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1912, the first such award to come to America. At this time, he became a member of the Rockefeller Institute.
When, in 1914, Germany declared war, Carrel was on vacation in France and was immediately inducted into military service. Supported by a Rockefeller Foundation grant of $20,000, he established a special hospital at Compiegne where, with Henry Dakin, an English Biochemist, he investigated the use of the Carrel-Dakin solution in the treatment of infections, particularly empyema. Simon Flexner was impressed with this work and, after the United States entered the war, induced the Army and Navy to establish the War Demonstration Hospital in New York. In six weeks, with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation, sixteen wooden buildings were constructed and the project started with Carrel as director. Three French medical officers, previously trained by him, assisted Carrel in the instruction of American officers in the method. Twice each month, from August 2, 1917 until March 2, 1919, medical officers, bacteriologists, and chemists received training. Civilian patients were soon replaced by returning military patients. Major George Stewart delivered, at the first AATS meeting, a paper on this experience entitled "Treatment of Empyema by the Carrel-Dakin Method." (See Pg. 43)
As was true with many others of his time, Carrel's interests followed diverse channels. In an effort to explain wound healing, tissue culture became an obsession with him. Starting in 1910, he carried the Rous fowl sarcoma through many cultural generations. When his reports were disputed, he initiated the culture of embryonic chick heart muscle cells. By 1921, he had carried this through 1500 generations and, subsequently, his associates perpetuated this culture for 34 years until 1946, 2 -years after his death. Although fibroblasts rather than muscle cells constituted these cultures, the accomplishment is still recognized as significant. This success generated an interest in organ culture, for which he suggested refrigeration and prolonged perfusion as aids. The latter led to his effort with Lindbergh in constructing their pump, a popular exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair. This also produced their jointly authored book "The Culture of Organs."
After the war he resumed his work at the Institute until his retirement in 1940 and subsequent return to his native France in 1941. He never saw America again, dying at his home in the midst of disaster in 1944, at the age of 71.
Surely The New York Society for Thoracic Surgery and The American Association for Thoracic Surgery can take pride in men such as Alexis Carrel being numbered among their Founding Fathers.
Dr. Howard Lilienthal was born on January 9, 1861 in Albany, New York. After preliminary education, he attended Harvard where he received his Bachelor's Degree, Cum Laude, in 1883 and his M.D. in 1887.
After the house staff examinations at Mount Sinai Hospital in 1887, he had this to say: "It was my good fortune to stand first in the examination for the house staff and when I expressed a preference for the surgical service I found that I had committed what seemed to be the equivalent of a social error for apparently no one had ever thus slighted the medical departments. It was not however disrespect for Medicine but sincere love for Surgery and I have never regretted my choice." An association of 60 years began, during which time he reached the rank of Attending Surgeon in 1899 and Consulting Surgeon in 1922. In addition, he served at Bellevue Hospital, The New York Infirmary, and the Hospital for Joint Diseases.
For twenty-three years, he participated in his Mount Sinai service, lending his genius to its guidance. As early as 1892, he published his first paper on "The Suture of Tendons and Nerves at the Wrist." In fractures with an osteoplastic operation, he was one of the first to demonstrate the advantages of careful x-ray examination. As early as 1902, he expressed his preference for supra-pubic prostatectomy. This was followed by other reports on surgery of the kidney and ureter. His first cholecystectomy in 1896 expressed a preference for primary cholecystectomy in certain cases.
A fine insight into the unselfish teaching nature of Dr. Lilienthal is provided by this quote: "At that time, the patient was, in many instances, a very sick individual. However, this did not apply to all of them. One of the less sick ones, who in addition was slender, was being operated upon by Dr. Lilienthal. The procedure appeared so simple that his assistant, the house surgeon, remarked about it. Dr. Lilienthal responded that he supposed the house surgeon would like to do a cholecystectomy and was assured he would. 'Very well' said Dr. Lilienthal, 'you shall do the next one.' But the next patient admitted was obese, jaundiced and very sick. Just prior to the operation, Dr. Lilienthal, mindful of his promise and also mindful of the best interests of the sick woman said to the house surgeon, 'This is the operation I promised you but the patient is very sick; you let me do it and you shall have the next two cases.' He kept his promise."
By 1914, his interest was directed mainly to problems of thoracic surgery. His intense interest in pulmonary suppuration of all types resulted in his first successful lobectomy on February 17, 1914. Within a few years, he had expanded this series to 31 cases. Later he reported the posterior mediastinal approach for resection of the esophagus. In vascular anastomosis, he was one of the first to use the Carrel method. His profound interest in problems of thoracic surgery earned for him the AATS Presidency in 1923.
One may wonder how such a busy surgeon had time to follow other pursuits, yet he enthusiastically engaged in tennis, hunting and fishing. During the latter activity, he always used barbless hooks in order to return the fish to its native waters. He painted in oils, water colors, and pastels, winning many prizes.
Dr. Lilienthal died on April 30, 1946, after 85 years of rarely equalled productivity.
Dr. Nathan Green was born in 1871 in Mneii, Ceylon, where his father was a medical missionary. After graduation from Yale in 1894, the College of Physicians and Surgeons conferred his Medical .degree in 1898. Following internship at St. Lukes Hospital in New York, he continued on the staff of this hospital until retirement in 1930. He also served in many other hospitals and, during World War I, assumed directorship of the First (Columbia) Surgical Division at Bellevue. Through affiliation with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, he carried out significant research, much of it in collaboration with Dr. Henry Janeway at the Memorial Hospital with which both were connected. As many others had observed, the ability to maintain adequate respiration and satisfactory anesthesia with the chest open was a major problem.He devised a positive pressure machine which performed these functions, permitting him and Janeway to successfully carry out their ideas. Experimentally, they resected lungs with good results. Both men well appreciated the risk of infection when the esophagus was opened operatively. To alleviate this problem, Dr. Green devised his button which permitted esophago-gastric anastomosis without opening either organ. Although both he and Janeway reported signal success with the method, they were still dissatisfied. Before long, they were able to state that suture esophago-gastric anastomosis after resection for carcinoma of the cardiac was a superior and preferable method. Their papers were certainly landmarks in this effort.
Dr. Green's other studies ranged widely, through both the chest and other areas. No informed person could question his professional contribution, but for thoracic surgery, another facet of his work is vitally significant. Shortly after Founding of the NYSTS, Ken Bulkley, its Secretary, departed for Army service in France. Dr. Green assumed the responsibilities of this position and became the first Secretary of the ' AATS. He devoted himself religiously to this thankless job. Dr. Ethan Butler stated that more than anything else, "Nate Green's bookwork was responsible for the survival of the AATS. Any inspection of the correspondence in Dr. Butler's files substantiates Dr. Green's dedication to the cause."
Dr. Nathan Green was a member of numerous other societies to which he made valuable contributions. It is certain, however, that he served none more faithfully than the AATS, becoming also President of that organization in 1925.
At the age of 83, in New Canaan, Connecticut, Dr. Green's death marked the end of a career devoted to medical ideals, a career not graced with impressive awards, yet unequivocal in its importance to us all.
Dr. Samuel Robinson was born in 1877 in Augusta, Maine. He graduated from Harvard University in 1898 and Harvard Medical School in 1902. After an internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital, he entered practice, first in Boston and then in Clifton Springs, New York. His interest in thoracic surgery prompted him to abandon practice in 1913 in order to work with Sauerbruch in Europe. There, Robinson did considerable experimental work on pulmonary resections, anesthesia, and other problems. Upon his return to the United States he, with Dr. Will Mayo, established a Thoracic Surgical Section at the Mayo Clinic and became its Director until 1917. When theUnited States entered the war, Robinson was commissioned a Major and assigned to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco as Chief of the Surgical Section. After the war, he resumed practice in Santa Barbara.
Beginning with his studies in Germany, Dr. Robinson devoted his time increasingly to the field of thoracic surgery. Most of his forty-five articles on the subject deal with the then basic problems. He investigated methods of artificial respiration and their relation to control of acute surgically induced pneumothorax. He successfully utilized these methods in the administration of anesthetic agents. With success in this area, he widened his field to include the heart and lungs. He explored methods of lung resection and foresaw their use in bronchiectasis and other diseases. He was among the first to strongly advocate definitive surgery for heart injuries including pericardial drainage and suture of the heart and lung. As with many other surgeons of this time, empyema was a subject of consuming importance to him. His trephine of the rib to control intra-thoracic pressure was ingenious.
Dr. Robinson was a member of numerous professional organizations to which he made important contributions. His enthusiastic support of the AATS in its early days justified his selection as a Founder and his election to the Presidency in 1922.
Dr. Robinson died in Santa Barbara in 1947.
Adrian Van Sinderen Lambert
Dr. Adrian V. S. Lambert was born in New York City on June 30, 1872. Four years after graduation from Yale, he received, in 1896, his M.D. degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. During internship at New York Hospital, loss of his right eye due to infection during surgery did not alter his determination in pursuit of excellence. He spent the following year learning to adapt the use of one eye to two hands, while pursuing his medical studies in Munich, Vienna, and Berlin. He then returned to New York and embarked on a career which soon made him one of that city's leading surgeons. His diverse interest encompassed many fields but none attracted him more than the desire to teach. In spite of a busy surgical practice, he followed this bent throughout his life.
From 1900 to 1905, he demonstrated anatomy at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and his residents can readily attest to his insistence on proficiency in this area. His surgical prowess was a picture of constant progress and thorough devotion. In many hospitals, including Bellevue, Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Presbyterian, he rose through the ranks and, at the latter institution, became Surgical Director in 1917. During these years he was at all times a busy innovator. In anesthesiology, he sparked the movement to teach nurse anesthetists, a profound contribution to the war effort. Later he was the guiding hand and, personally, one of the financial fathers of the School of Anesthesia at Bellevue under Dr. Rovenstine, which contributed enormously to the success of its thoracic and other surgical services.
Into his spare time, Dr. Lambert crowded other work. He translated the French monograph of Anne Carrel and Dakin and established, at the Rockefeller Institute, a ward for applying the method in treating wounds. He practiced neurosurgery for some time and, with others, did considerable experimental and clinical research on the anatomy of cerebral pathways and ventricles and surgical treatment of hydrocephalus. He antedated Lane by using aluminum plates for internal fixation of fractures. In spite of these and many other contributions, his greatest interest was in thoracic surgery and his efforts inevitably became channeled to this field. His is a story of singular devotion which brought success against great odds.
It was Dr. Lambert's infant daughter Mary who, in 1908, was operated on for Melena neonatorum by Dr. Carrel (See Vascular Surgery, Pg. 89). This experience brought Lambert in direct conflict with the then current tide against vivisection in New York, which culminated in his taking the one-year old child to Albany. There he told how her life had been saved only by Dr. Carrel's work in experimental dog surgery. This dramatically ended any serious legislative efforts in New York to rule out vivisection.
Dr. Lambert was appointed to the Surgical Staff of Bellevue Hospital in 1905. During the following years, he witnessed daily the sad plight of patients with tuberculosis or other pulmonary disease. He knew intimately Dr. James Miller's heart-breaking struggle to bring some order out of the chaos. In 1914, Lambert detailed his operation for achalasia of the esophagus. Early in his career, he had been eager to apply thoracoplasty and phrenic paralysis, thoracoscopy and other procedures to the various problems of tuberculosis. Yet it was not until 1921 that authorities succumbed to his determined pleadings and permitted establishment of a thoracic surgical service at Bellevue. Then he was able to complete the first thoracoplasty at that hospital, one of the first performed in New York. Under many adverse conditions, such as using borrowed beds, he continued to teach both the visiting and resident staff. Usually, he supported the effort with funds donated by himself or by friends. Heencouraged research, being also a tireless contributor. In this area, one of his outstanding accomplishments was to aid in establishment of the cardio-pulmonary laboratory which has had such an illustrious record under Drs. Cournand and Richards. However, it took almost 35 years of relentless work before he saw success with his own chest surgical service. His lifelong devotion to thoracic surgery brought Dr. Adrian Lambert the AATS Presidency in 1940.
This dedicated teacher died in 1952, leaving behind a long list of grateful trainees. He had, however, long before summarized his own philosophy with these words written in 1918:
When I returned from Europe I had the ambition to make a living. I thought it would be a difficult thing to do, and a proper, decent thing to do. I took an active part in teaching. This had really always interested me and I have been doing it ever since. I have never become a great or brilliant teacher, although rather better than the average, but not much. I have always hoped to become better but doubt now if I ever shall. I have always desired to do some original research but among the many other duties which seemed necessary I have not made the time. I have no hobbies or special interests outside of my work and would qualify rather well among that vast army of uninteresting, colorless citizens who lead humdrum lives, keep out of scandal, die and are forgotten.
Dr. John A. Hartwell was born on September 27, 1869, in Deckerstown, New Jersey. His father was headmaster of a private school which seemed to insure a bright and perhaps easy future for his four children. The difficulty began when his mother died during John Hartwell's 12th year and was compounded by his father's death one year later. A closely knit family gathered its forces and converted the school to a boarding house. Although it eked out an existence, it hardly provided much assurance for a boy with a burning desire to pursue a medical career. Because of his athletic record in secondary school, he was placed on the training table when he matriculated at Yale in 1885. While this met eating expenses, he found it necessary to do other work in order to defray the other costs of education. Since life had been, from an early age, intensely competitive, it is no accident that he followed this pattern. He was stroke in the Yale crew that beat Harvard four times in a row. The fabled "Pudge" Heffelfinger had Hart-well at left end and Hinkey at right end on the undefeated and untied Yale football team of 1891. Walter Camp selected both Hartwell and Hinkey for All-American that year, his senior year in medical school. It is amazing to know that in these seven years he managed to collect a Ph.D., in 1889,. and an M.D., in 1892, from Yale University. The latter was Cum Laude and first in his class. Other undergraduate honors were innumerable. For the next two years, he did research at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Then from 1894 to 1897, he served on the Surgical house staff of Presbyterian Hospital, afterwards joining the visiting surgical staff for five years. In 1904, he was appointed assistant professor of physiology at Cornell University Medical College where he became Assistant Professor of Surgery in 1907. He was by nature a leader, and pursued his work in surgery mainly in the wards at Bellevue, to which he was first appointed in 1903. This work drew his first allegiance and he progressed through the ranks to become Director of the Second (Cornell) Surgical Division in 1914, in which capacity he continued until 1928 when he was elevated to consultant. From 1910 to 1938, he was Professor of Clinical Surgery at Cornell.
In January, 1918, he was commissioned a Major in the Medical Corps of the United States Army. After some Stateside duty, he joined the H.E.F. in France and worked largely in Evacuation and Field Hospitals.
As his active surgical career drew to a close, he transferred his energies to new fields. Beginning in 1928, he served two terms as President of the Academy of Medicine and then, from 1934, he was its director until his death in 1940.
Dr. Hartwell was a tireless worker in many fields with an intensely competitive spirit. At the New York Academy of Medicine, the bound volumes of his work contain 133 publications on more subjects than a surgeon might express even an opinion on today. Many of these dealt with empyema, lung abscess and gangrene, stricture of the esophagus and other thoracic problems. His opinions as reported have perhaps received inadequate recognition since he did not pursue thoracic work as avidly as others. Yet his views were forward-looking.
At this early stage, he had already devised an easy method of direct transfusion but also recognized the deficits and the need for further improvement. He was a devoted teacher, yet still managed to find time for his other efforts. He helped establish the Clinic at Cornell for marginal income patients. He vigorously defended Birth Control Clinics against severe criticism. He stopped cold the effort to set up certain control clinics based largely on quackery. He fought and helped defeat the anti-vivisection legislation.
Dr. Hartwell died on November 11, 1940 at the age of 71.
James Alexander Miller
Dr. James Alexander Miller was born in Roselle, New Jersey on March 24, 1874. He received his A.M. in 1894 from Princeton University. As a chemist, he worked with Dr. William H. Park in the Department of Health of New York City. Pursuing his preference for medicine, he earned his M.D. from P & S in 1899. Although he entered practice in New York City, he devoted his summers to practice at Paul Smith's in the Adirondacks where his friendship with Dr. Trudeau generated an indomitable interest in tuberculosis.
Dedicating his life to achievement of advance in this field, Dr. Miller abandoned the easy road and moved to where he could meet the problem head-on. He left Presbyterian Hospital to go to Bellevue, which provided the best illustration of that lost cause - the patient with tuberculosis. By means of his work, he awakened the nation, and particularly New York City, to the magnitude of the problem. By dint of almost superhuman effort, he managed to set forces in motion which developed into the Community Service Organization, the first organized anti-tuberculosis movement in New York. This accomplishment eventually served to aid the national cause. (For details on the movement, please refer to the Tuberculosis section.)
It is not surprising that Dr. Miller earned and received numerous honors from a grateful nation. In the field of tuberculosis particularly, immense courage had been necessary in order to accomplish progress. Most facilities recognized the horrible toll of this disease, but few deigned to address the problem. It was Dr. Miller who grappled with it, aroused an apathetic nation, and finally brought it under control. Our gratitude, however large, will never quite encompass the debt we owe him.
Dr. James Miller died on July 29, 1948 at the age of 74.
Henry Harrington Janeway
Dr. Henry H. Janeway was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on March 19, 1873. He attended Rutgers, Yale, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which conferred his M. D. Degree in 1898. Following 2 years of internship at Roosevelt Hospital, he practiced medicine and general surgery in New Brunswick. Due to his intense interest in surgical problems, he gave up his practice in 1906 to work in the experimental laboratories of his medical school in New York, where he specialized in surgery and dermatology.
His interest at this time was centered mainly in the thorax. Together with Nathan Green, he built a pressure chamber which favorably served for experimental and clinical work. Possessing thereby the means with which to insure respiratory sufficiency and anesthesia, he approached the problem of esophageal surgery. Just as did those who preceded him, he met only disaster when the esophagus was opened in the thorax. He once stated that infection killed all animals and patients. His research, in collaboration with "Nate" Green, generated the Green button which was used so successfully. Janeway continued to strive for further improvement and, in the preparation of patients for more extensive surgery, he devised the feeding of gastrostomy which bears his name. Soon afterwards he reported, together with Dr. Green, esophago-gastric anastomosis with suture technique after resection for cardial gastric carcinoma.
Dr. James Ewing brought Dr. Janeway to Memorial Hospital upon learning he had done considerable work with radium in the treatment of cancer. Although rejected at first by his fellow surgeons at Memorial, Janeway persevered in his thinking, proved the validity of his concepts, and eventually won their respect.
Dr. Janeway had developed, soon after graduation from medical school, a lump in the area of his jaw. It proved to be cancerous and necessitated over the years, a series of painful, disfiguring operations, each time removing more of his face. The continuous pain and profound dissatisfaction with surgical methods of treatment, generated his interest in radium. He postulated that, if radium could destroy cells, it might perhaps be controlled so as to destroy only cancerous cells, leaving the healthy cells untouched. He pursued his research in the application of radium therapy throughout most of his life, fortunately having been given, by Dr. Ewing, the necessary radium and facilities in which to work. His success in this field is still honored by the yearly conferral of the Janeway Medal to an outstanding individual working with cancer.
On February 1, 1921, at the age of 47, Dr. Janeway finally lost his personal battle with the dread disease. But he left behind, for the benefit of those who could still be helped, many years of intense research into means of defeating the cancer which had taken his own life.
Eugene Hillhouse Pool
Dr. Eugene H. Pool was born in New York City on June 3, 1874. Harvard conferred his A.B. in 1895 and P & S his M.D. in 1899. He served his surgical internship at New York Hospital, planning afterwards to follow a career in internal medicine. An invitation from Dr. William Bull to become his associate in an extensive surgical practice altered Dr. Pool's plan, whereupon followed seven years of continuous work with Dr. Bull.
In 1907, Dr. Pool became Associate Attending Surgeon to New York Hospital, becoming later Attending Surgeon, then Senior Attending Surgeon, serving, in all, more than 35 years at this hospital. Between 1915 and 1947 he was Professor of Clinical Surgery at both P & S (1915-1938) and Cornell (1932-1947). In addition, he was Consulting Surgeon to many hospitals. During World War I, he served with the New York Hospital Unit overseas and advanced to consultant to' the First Army. He was cited by General Pershing for meritorious service, besides receiving several decorations.
In 1935, at the request of Governor Herbert Lehman, Dr. Pool directed the committee which re-wrote the medical provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act. Dr. Pool's report was passed as a bill by the State Legislature and has since served as a model for other states in improving their own workmen's compensation laws.
Eugene Pool gave freely of his time and capabilities to numerous organizations and societies, receiving from these, and others, a long series of honors and awards. His more than 70 published papers encompass a wide range of surgery including the spleen, thyroid, stomach and duodenum. In thoracic surgery, he contributed significant observations on the pericardium. Furthermore, it must be noted that he completed one of the first pneumonectomies in New York.
Dr. Pool's many students attest to his credentials as a teacher. His record as a surgeon stands unquestioned.
Dr. Pool died on April 9, 1949.
Edmond Melchior Von Eberts
Dr. Edmond M. Eberts was born in Chatham, Ontario, on May 27, 1873. He received his basic education in Winnipeg but was then forced by circumstances to interrupt his schooling and become an employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway. A burning desire to become a surgeon compelled him to leave a promising railroad career and enter the Faculty of Medicine, McGill, in 1893, graduating with high honors in 1897.
After a brief period of additional study in London, he began his associations with the Montreal General Hospital and the McGill Medical Faculty, both of which he maintained until his retirement. He rose to the highest appointments in both institutions Professor of Surgery at McGill and Attending Surgeon at the Hospital.
Eberts attained a superb mastery of the art of surgery, winning for himself a reputation as one of the outstanding surgeons of his generation. He made many valuable contributions, but his most notable achievement was in the field of thyroid surgery where he pioneered in application of newer advances in biochemistry to thyroid disease. Although Dr. Eberts had, throughout the years, a strong interest in thoracic surgery, his active work in this field was essentially limited to empyema.
He found great satisfaction in teaching, being a sound and practical person, disdainful of show and display. His work was always carefully prepared and he had little tolerance for incompetence in others, yet he was patient and understanding with the sincere worker.
Dr. Eberts was a member of and valuable contributor to many organizations, both medical and civic. He served also on the Medical Board at General Hospital. His entire professional life was centered in this hospital where he rose to eminence and which, in turn, added to its own greatness for having had one such as Dr. Eberts on its staff.
Dr. Eberts died in Montreal on May 17, 1945.
* Photograph of Dr. Von Eberts was not available
Dr. George J. Heuer was born in Madison, Wisconsin in the year 1882. After receiving his B.S. in 1903 from the University of Wisconsin, he earned his M.D. Degree at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1907. He then spent four years as Assistant Resident and three years as Resident in Surgery under Dr. Halsted at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the outbreak of World War I, he was pursuing further study as an exchange fellow in Breslau, Germany. He joined the Medical Corps of the American Army in France where he was one of the chief surgeons in Evacuation Hospital #1 at Toul. Following the war, he returned to Johns Hopkins and served there as Associate Professor of Surgery until 1922. At that time, he was appointed Professor of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati and Chief Surgeon of the Cincinnati General Hospital. In 1932, he became Lewis Atterbury Stimson Professor of Surgery atCornell University Medical College, and Surgeon-in-Chief to The New York Hospital. He retired from these positions in 1947, remaining Professor Emeritus and Consultant in Surgery to the New York Hospital until his death in 1950.
A review of his activities, not all of which are sufficiently reflected in his publications, reveal a man of rare excellence in diverse surgical fields. Early in his career, he contributed considerably in the field of neurosurgery. His dissertations on pituitary tumors are perhaps his best known. On the abdomen, his papers on biliary tract disease and peptic ulcer improved both understanding arid treatment. He also took a lively interest in the problems of hypertension and surgery of trauma.
In addition to his involvement in these many areas, Dr. Heuer had cultivated, early in his career, a great concern for the problems in the relatively new field of thoracic surgery. In the year 1914, he and his associates realized the defects of mass hilar ligation in pulmonary resection and began researching the problem, only to be interrupted by the war. Yet their work produced the method of bronchial closure used in pneumonectomy today. Their other observations on the post-operative course in such cases have also stood the test of time. Dr. Heuer's method of esophageal resection with transplantation of the diaphragm was ingenious, but he readily admitted its deficits. His papers on mediastinal and chest wall tumors are classic. Pericardiectomy for constrictive pericarditis became thoroughly acceptable procedure following his work. Dr. Heuer was a distinguished member of most of the name societies and served as President of the AATS in 1934.
Despite his dedication to all these projects, it is likely that George Heuer considered them subsidiary to his one primary aim, that of serving as an educator devoted to adequate training of young surgeons. Having been trained under the Halsted System, he worked diligently for expansion of this system, first in Cincinnati and then in New York. His contemporaries, students and residents were quite justified in often referring to him as the complete surgeon. When he retired in 1947, a host of his trainees continued his teachings, which brought him the greatest possible satisfaction.
Dr. Heuer died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 15, 1950.