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Friday, August 2, 2013

Dr. Gurden Buck, Plastic Surgery Pioneer

From: Biblioserver.com


Gurdon Buck, New York surgeon, was born in Fulton Street, New York on the fourth of May, 1807, a son of Gurdoi* Buck, a New York merchant, and Susannah Manwaring Buck of Connecticut, both grandchildren of Gov. Gurdon Saltonstall of Connecticut. Dr. Buck went to Nelson Classical School and finally determined to study medicine. With this in view he studied under Dr. Thomas Cock and in 1830 received his M. D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the city of New York. After passing the regular term on the medical side of the New York Hospital he went to Europe and continued his studies in the hospitals of Paris, Berlin, and Vienna for a period of about two years and a half. In 1836 he made a second visit to Europe, and in Geneva, Switzerland, married Henrietta E. Wolff, of that city. In 1837 he was appointed visiting surgeon to the New York Hospital and held that position up to the day he died He was also appointed visiting surgeon to St Luke's Hospital and the Presbyterian Hospital at the time of the organization of those institutions, and was visiting surgeon to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, from l&S?' to 1862. He was a fellow of the Academy of Medicine from its organization, and served as its vice-president for one term; a member of the New York Pathological Society, serving one term as president, and member of the state and county medical societies.

For some years his health had slowly been failing, and grave symptoms appeared, referred to kidney trouble. Finally the symptoms of uremic poisoning became moremarked, until he sank into coma, in whichstate he quietly passed away on March 6, 1877.

As a surgeon, Dr. Buck was remarkable for boldness in operating, and thoroughness of detail in after-treatment. His patient study of his cases was one of his peculiar traits. He was particularly attentive to cases of fractures and not infrequently devoted the greater part of the day to these cases in the wards of the New York Hospital. As a result of such painstaking care he was enabled to revolutionize the prevailing system of treatment. The improvements which he made in the then existing apparatus are matters of surgical history'. His method of treating fractures of the thigh by the weight and pulley was at once recognized by surgeons throughout the civilized world as the establishment of an original principle of great value and to this day it is known as 'Buck's Extension.'

His investigations with regard to the pelvic fasciae are to be found in the first volume of the 'Transactions of the American Medical Association.'

His joint surgery was especially noteworthy in a preantiseptic era; he excised the elbow joint (New York Journal of Medicine and Surgery, 1841), and the knee joint (American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 1845). He was successful in treating edema of the glottis, wrote much about abscesses in the right iliac fossa but never learned their cause, and was deeply interested in rhinoplastic, stomatoplastic and other reparative operations, publishing a work of some 237 pages in 1876.

As a man Dr. Buck was noted for his sterling integrity of character, his high sense of professional honor, his consistent Christianity, his charity to the poor, and his quiet devotion to his family. He left a widow and five children, three sons and two daughters. Two of the sons became physicians.


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