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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: 2020
Sep 9, 2020

In this episode, we will cover the story of providing fluids and nutrients intravenously, leading up to Dr. Stanley Dudrick and the development of TPN (total parenteral nutrition), including the first patients to receive this groundbreaking therapy. As usual, we will explore a few related topics, including some of the earliest experiments with radioactive materials, and much more!

Aug 3, 2020

The subject for this episode, written and narrated by Dr. David Sigmon, is the great medieval surgeon Guy de Chauliac. His life and works are covered, including the 'Chirurgia Magna', or 'Great Writings on Surgery', but the main focus is his role in fighting the Black Death in Avignon, France, in 1342, and the lessons he learned about the plague that devastated much of Western civilization.

Jul 30, 2020

This episode was written by a guest contributor, Simar Bajaj, a student of the History of Science at Harvard University. In it, we cover the story of the mitral valve, from its earliest descriptions, to the discovery of its function and pathology, and of course, the evolution of the surgical treatment of both stenosis and regurgitation. In addition to meeting the surgeon innovators, we will of course take some detours, looking at how percussion became a part of the physical exam, reviewing the origins of the term hyperkalemia, cover some surgical rivalries, and lots more!

Jul 7, 2020

This episode was written by a guest contributor, Dr. David Warmflash, and covers the history of the use of induced hypothermia in surgery, from its earliest days in Ancient Egypt, through Napoleon-era France, and to the early days of cardiac surgery! We will also explore a more modern application in the setting of trauma, and of course, take a few detours along the way.

Jun 8, 2020

In this episode, we'll cover the brilliant but difficult character of Guillaume Dupuytren, and of course the disease which bears his name. In addition to his life, we'll take a deep dive into the history of Dupuytren's disease, also known as the Viking's disease, the curse of the MacCrimmons, and the Hand of Benediction, among others. There are lots of side stories, too, including a bit of history of the bagpipes!

And 'Suture Tales' makes a return for the 50th anniversary of the Swan-Ganz catheter!

May 18, 2020

In this episode, host Dr. David Sigmon tells the inspirational true story of Dr. Alexander Thomas Augusta, the first African American surgeon in the Northern Army during the American Civil War, the first African American professor of medicine in the US, and civil rights activist. He overcame deeply entrenched racism to practice medicine and helped to establish medical training for African Americans.

Apr 16, 2020

In this episode, we cover the contributions to neurosurgery by Dr. Walter Dandy, including an in depth look at the ventricular system of the brain. We'll also discuss missing skulls, Roman aqueducts, and the origin of the baseball helmet, and much more!

Feb 26, 2020

In this episode, we will trace the history of the parathyroid gland, from its identification, to the determination of its function, the understanding of hyperparathyroidism, and of course, the surgical removal of abnormal glands! Along the way we'll meet a Swedish medical student, a rhinoceros, a sea captain, and of course, a number of legends of surgery. 

In the suture tales section, we'll cover the assassination of a famous political figure in the US, and the botched attempts to save his life. Lots of fun and interesting stuff in this episode!

Feb 9, 2020

In this 2nd part of a 2-part series on the world-famous cardiac surgeons Drs. DeBakey and Cooley, we cover their life's work, their feud, and eventual reconciliation. In addition, the history of artificial hearts is covered, as well as other topics, including the reason for Jehovah's Witnesses refusing blood transfusions. And in the latest Suture Tales, the Vineberg procedure is brought out of the dustbin of history, given a shake, and covered in detail!

Jan 11, 2020

In this episode, Dr. David Sigmon tells us the tale of the Russian surgeon Dr. Pirogov, detailing his early life, including family tragedies that would shape him, his medical and surgical training, as well as his numerous contributions to surgery. Not only did he advocate for anatomy teaching, leading to the publication of an anatomical atlas 'Anatomia Topographia', he made contributions to vascular surgery and was an early adopter of ether for anesthesia. But most importantly, Pirogov brought his skills and knowledge to the battlefields of 19th century Russia, writing the seminal manual 'Principles of War Surgery' and introducing the concept of triage!

As well, this episode contains the latest 'suture tales', covering the history of curare from the jungles of South America to the modern operating room!

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