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The Evolution Of Colostomy

C. D. Cromar
Published 1968 · Medicine

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T o the impart ia l observer, no period in the history of colostomy presents as much interest as does the penul t imate decade of the 19th century, for in those years abdominal surgery underwent a complete technical revolution. Lawson Tai t , by his magnificent series of 139 consecutive ovariotomies without a single death, had confirmed the assertion made by Blundell, 50 years previOuslyl that the peritoneal cavity could be opened with relative impuni ty and intraperi toneal surgery was no longer restricted to heroic occasions but became part and parcel of the everyday practice of the surgeon. Old men, however, like old dogs, find difficulty in learning new tricks, and many of the more venerable members of the profession preferred t o make an eloquent stand in defense of methods with which they had been reared than to a t tempt newer and more fashionable procedures. As an outlet for expressions of acrimonious dissension between these obstinate die-hards and vigorous reformers, medical l i terature of the time records that not until the 1890's did the ravages of death, senility, and retirement render the former ineffectua! and leave the latter, emboldened by increasing experience and fortified by a steady accretion of proselytes, alone in the ffe!d. T h e changed viewpoint was well expressed by



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