One of a small number of surgeons to win the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was born on this date in 1841. Emil Theodor Kocher, M.D., was recognized in 1909 for his surgical procedures to treat thyroid disorders, something rarely attempted successfully before his time because of the extreme danger the patient would bleed to death. Kocher devised a technique that sealed off all blood vessels to the thyroid (a gland at the base of the neck that accepts a great deal of blood). He also invented many of the tools still used by surgeons today, including "Kocher's forceps," which compress bleeding tissue. In addition, the Swiss doctor developed surgical techniques used in operations involving the tongue, lung, ovary, gall bladder, stomach and ankle.
Copyright Aetna InteliHealth, Inc., 2011. All rights reserved.