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Legends of Surgery

Legends of Surgery is a podcast that tells the stories of the people and events that make up the history of modern surgery, told in an informal, entertaining and educational manner.
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Legends of Surgery
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Now displaying: 2019
Nov 15, 2019

This is another episode provided by Dr. David Sigmon! He covers the history of a surgeon who had a successful, but not necessarily legendary, surgical career. So why are we covering Dr. Barry? Because of an astounding secret that was carried to the grave! The revelation was so scandalous, the British military kept it secret for decades. To find out more about this mystery, have a listen!

Nov 1, 2019

In this episode, new host and collaborator for the show, Dr. David Sigmon, tells the horrifying tale of the Japanese surgeon Dr. Shiro Ishii and Japan's infamous Unit 731. While his acts were terrible, they were not only tolerated but encouraged at the time. And both the US and USSR failed to properly prosecute him or his unit. It is difficult to hear some of these details, and the podcast may be too graphic for some, so listener beware. But it is important to remember history, even some of the darker sides of the history of surgery. 

Oct 16, 2019

Despite the title, this episode is about far more than just the first prostatectomy performed for cancer treatment. The life of American urologist Dr. Hugh Hampton Young is covered, as well as a little part of the history of prostate surgery. And as a special bonus, there is a mini-podcast in the podcast, covering a famous surgeon of the Wild West, who lived a Forrest Gump-like life! You'll have to listen to the episode to learn more; I hope you enjoy it!

Sep 18, 2019

In this bonus episode, we welcome a new member to the Legends of Surgery team, Dr. David Simon, a general surgery resident at the University of Chicago currently researching surgical education at the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote this episode, which covers the history of the discovery of the adrenal glands, the efforts made to understand its function, and, of course, the pioneers who first operated on these glands. We'll also learn how some of the diseases produced by the adrenals have effected history, and in particular a famous American president, at a very inopportune time in history!

Aug 13, 2019

In this episode, we cover one of the most influential books in the history of surgery, the 'De Humane Corporis Fabrica', and its author, Andreas Vesalius. In doing so, we'll also explore the outsized influence of the ancient Roman physician Galen on anatomical knowledge, and the challenges Vesalius faced in shaking the yoke of tradition through empirical evidence. One of the giants of Renaissance medicine, Vesalius laid the groundwork for the modern field of anatomy, and in so doing, modern surgery as well.

Jul 9, 2019

In this episode, we will explore the life and impact of French surgeon Ambroise Pare, who has been described as "one of the most luminous figures in the dark period of the late sixteenth century in France". A true Renaissance man, so to speak, Pare impacted a wide range of surgical practices. But his most significant impact was felt on the battlefields of Europe, as he modernized the treatment of gunshot wounds and amputations. All that, and more, in this episode!

May 15, 2019

There are few surgical interventions more dramatic than the thoracotomy - a desperate last-ditch effort to save a failing heart by manual compression. The history of the procedure is a fascinating one, dating back to the 19th century. This became the procedure of choice when a heart stopped, typically during surgery, but was eventually replaced by what we now call CPR. The history of the development of CPR is also covered, and of course, we'll take some interesting tangents. 

Mar 23, 2019

This episode is a bit different than previous, in that the first part is a review of the life and work of the famous cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world's first human heart transplant. The second part is an interview with cardiac surgeon Dr. David K. C. Cooper, who worked with Dr. Barnard, and wrote the definitive biography on him. We discuss Dr. Barnard, as well as the history of cardiac surgery, and even get into xenotransplantation! It was a pleasure to speak with him, and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

Feb 18, 2019

In this episode, we'll cover the life of English surgeon Frederick Salmon, his clashes with the medical establishment at the time, and his creation of a fistula hospital that eventually became St. Mark's Hospital. Of course, we will get into a bit of explanation around the history of fistula-in-ano treatment, and deviate from the main story to explore some other interesting historical tidbits! 

Jan 14, 2019

In this episode, we will cover the German surgeon August Bier, and his creation of both spinal anesthesia, and the eponymously named Bier block, used commonly today for regional anesthesia. We'll also cover some less well known aspects of his career, and touch on his mentor, Johann von Esmarch, known for the Esmarch bandage (and so much more)! Of course, along the way, we'll meet up with some other players in the history of medicine and surgery. Finally, we will talk about one of Bier's greatest legacies, the Sauen forest in Germany. You'll have to listen to find out more!

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