This section is from the book "The London Medical Dictionary", by Bartholomew Parr. Also available from Amazon: London Medical Dictionary.
In the seventeenth century the names crowd on us in such a multitude, that even the enumeration is almost impracticable. Among anatomists and surgeons, for we can now scarcely distinguish them, we find Sylvius de la Boe, Veslingius, Horstius; the younger Bartholine, an author of peculiar industry, of great abilities as an anatomist, and a strenuous defender of the newly discovered absorbent system; Schneider, the discoverer of the extent of the Schneiderian membrane and author of an ex -tensive work on catarrhs; Ballonius; Van Helmont; Van-derlinden, the very accurate editor of Hippocrates; our own Charleton and High more; Pecquet, the discoverer of the receptacle of the chyle; Wallis, who gave us the first rudiments of the method of teaching the deaf and dumb to speak; Glisson, the author of the Anatomia Hepatis; Bohnius ,to whom we are indebted for a work on the eye, and an excellent treatise, De Renunciatione Vulnerum; Schultetus, who gave us a most instructive work on surgical instruments, and has preserved the form of many, which would have been otherwise forgotten; Wharton, author of the Adenographia; Wepfer, Wedelius, Willis, of Oxford, whose talents, as an anatomist and physician, are not adequately appreciated at this time; Mal-fihigi, a naturalist and anatomist of the highest rank; Steno Bellini, a mechanical physiologist of considerable ability; Borelli, the disciple of Bellini; Drelincourt, the anatomical preceptor of Boerhaave; Redi, De Graff, Ruysch, Swammerdam, Lower, Etmuller, Mauriceau, Muralto, Lister, Ray, Pechlin, Diemerbroeck, Lewen-hoeck, Duverney, Tyson, Grew, Nuck; Bidloo, the author of some excellent anatomical plates, which Cowper has been accused of republishing, without any acknowledgment, and with little alteration; Vieussens, author of the Neurographia Universalis; Vanderwiel; and out-own Wiseman, though last, not least.
The extent of this catalogue, though numerous authors of credit are omitted, prevents us from following at length the anatomists and surgeons of the last century. To attempt it would be a labour of immense extent, disproportioned to the work; and it would be in a great measure useless, since they are generally known. In the early part of the last century Dr. Douglass taught anatomy with credit; and to him we are indebted for Dr. William Hunter, and, more remotely, for his brother, J. Hunter. In Scotland, the first Monro was an anatomist and surgeon of unrivalled excellence. In Germany, Haller merits peculiar and distinguished commendations; while, in both countries, the second Monro, Hewson, and Meckel, perfected the discovery of the third distinct system of vessels, the lymphatic, which Mascagni of Italy has delineated with singular elegance. Italy can also boast of the very able anatomists, Morgagni and Valsalva.
In surgery, Cheselden, Sharp, Pott, and many others, have been equally an ornament to their country and to the science they professed; nor have their successors been less distinguished: but of living surgeons it is not perhaps proper to speak, since it is so difficult to speak without offence. In France, Petit, Mery, Le Dran, Le Cat, Daviel, and Peyronie, have greatly extended their art; and in Germany Heister has given the best general system of surgery,which appeared before that of Mr.bell.
Here, then, we must close the history of surgery, and proceed to the other branches of this article. The object of surgery is apparently every external complaint not owing to an internal cause, and every disease in which an operation is required. Of the first class are, wounds, tumours, inflammations, and organic complaints. The latter comprehends a great variety of internal complaints, which are partly the object of the physician, and, in part, of the surgeon. These are, diseases of the brain from compression; fractures of the cranium; polypi of the nose; accumulations of cerumen in the ears; scirrhous tonsels; obstruction of the larynx from inflammation; accumulations in the chest, either of air, water, or purulent matter; herniae of every kind; abscesses of the liver, or other viscera, pointing outwards; calculus in the kidneys or bladder; suppression of urine, or faeces; fractures; dislocations; diseased joints, etc. Yet the surgeon should reflect, that he will always merit greater praise from curing without an operation, than by an operation performed with the greatest dexterity. Unfortunately, many surgeons suppose that the operation is their chief business; that, by it, their character obtains a degree of splendour, which the best and most successful plan of cure would not otherwise claim. Let the young surgeon disregard this delusive splendour, which will entice him often to his patient's injury. On the other hand, let him not too long delay an operation that may be necessary, or protract to the moment of exhausted strength what requires some efforts of the constitution to bear or contend with. Each fault is too common; and it has been a great object, in our separate articles, to give such rules as may correct either tendency.
When an operation of importance is necessary, it becomes the surgeon's duty to state to the friends the real probability of success, without exaggeration on one side, or too doubtful hesitation on the other. The whole truth, as it appears to him, should be faithfully and explicitly detailed. If, from a fair view of the arguments, the operation be decided on, the patient's consent should also be gained; yet, at this time, every encouraging circumstance should be displayed, and every doubt suppressed, or. at least, suggested with caution. The pain, the hazard of an operation, will strongly bias the mind, and give every doubt a disproportioned force; nor is the moment of pain and distress such as will enable the patient to examine contending arguments with the requisite discrimination and impartiality.
When an operation is performed, it was formerly fashionable to display the dexterity of the operator by a rapid execution. Neatness, accuracy, and minute precision, are now studied. We do not think the change advantageous to the patient. If the operation is not so much hurried as to occasion error, it cannot be performed too soon; and nothing is gained by detaining the patient on the table three times the necessary time, Because the knife shall be carried as near as possible to an artery without wounding it, or because the smallest particle of muscular flesh shall not be included in a ligature. We have seen an operation performed so slowly, as if the operator thought his success was only obtained by a dilatory caution. After the operation, the application of the bandage is of the greatest consequence; and, as the ease of the patient is much connected with the neatness with which it is applied, the utmost attention should be paid to this part of the process.