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Auguste Nélaton

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Famous French surgeon; born in Paris, 17 June, 1807, d. there 21 Sept., 1873. He made his medical studies in Paris, graduating in 1836 with a thesis on tuberculous affections of bones. All his subsequent university career was passed at Paris. After the publication of his "Traité des tumeurs de la mamelle" he became agrégé in 1839. In 1851 he became professor of clinical surgery with a thesis which attracted wide attention and was translated into German the following year. As a member of the surgical staff of the St. Louis Hospital, he devised a number of original surgical procedures and operations, was the first to suggest the ligature of both ends of arteries in primary and secondary hemorrhage, and developed several phases of plastic surgery. The Nélaton probe with the porcelain knob, which he invented, was successfully used by him in Garibaldi's case, in 1862, to locate a bullet in the ankle joint. Some of his suggestions with regard to operations were important advances in abdominal and pelvic surgery. He was, lastly, noted as a great teacher of surgery and a consummate operator.

Pagel, the German historian of medicine, in his "Biographical Dictionary of Prominent Physicians of the Nineteenth Century", says of Nélaton: "He was a man of very clear judgment, of ripe experience, of solid wisdom, and deservedly occupies a place as one of the greatest of French surgeons of the nineteenth century." In 1863 he was elected a member of the Paris Academy of Medicine and in 1867 of the French Institute of Science, and became Senator of the French Empire in 1868. His fame as a writer on surgery rests upon his "Elements of Surgical Pathology" (5 vols., Paris, 1854-60). The last volume was completed with the collaboration of A. Jamain. In 1867 Nélaton had an important share in preparing the "Report on The Progress of Surgery in France ".


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