Daring Man And Courageous Woman
On this date in 1809, physician Ephraim McDowell removed an ovarian cyst from Jane Todd Crawford in his log cabin near Motley's Glen in Green County, Kentucky. This was probably the world's first-ever voluntary abdominal surgery, otherwise known as a laparotomy (a surgical incision into any part of the abdominal wall.) At the time, a scribe wrote that they were "a daring man and a courageous woman coming together to settle a problem." Lincoln. McDowell performed the 25-minute operation without anesthesia. He didn't publicize his results until 1817, after he'd already done two more. Records suggest that he performed at least 12 more similar operations that better developed his knowledge of ovarian diseases. Born in Virginia in 1771, McDowell started his medical training in the United States before moving to Edinburgh in 1793 to train with Alexander Munro and John Bell. He returned to Kentucky in 1795 to set up medical practice there.
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