Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Gross, Samuel David

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GROSS, Samuel David, surgeon, b. near Easton, Pa., 8 July, 1805; d. in Philadelphia, 6 May, 1884. He studied medicine, was graduated at Jefferson medical college in 1828, and began practice in Philadelphia, employing his leisure in translating medical works from the French. He settled in Easton in 1829, in 1833 was appointed demonstrator of anatomy in the Medical college of Ohio, at Cincinnati, and in 1835 professor of pathological anatomy in the same institution. Here he delivered the first systematic course of lectures on morbid anatomy ever given in the United States. Five years later he became professor of surgery in the University of Louisville, Ky., and in 1850 succeeded Dr. Mott in the University of New York. By request of his associates, he returned to Kentucky and resumed work there, after only a single session in New York. He was one of the founders and early presidents of the Kentucky state medical society. While in Louisville he published an elaborate “Report on Kentucky Surgery” (1851), including a biography of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, of Danville, in that state, in support of the claims that he was the originator of ovariotomy in 1809. In 1856 he was chosen professor of surgery in Jefferson medical college, Philadelphia, which post he occupied until within two years of his death, when he resigned on account of advancing years and desire for repose. He founded with Dr. T. G. Richardson in 1856 the “Louisville Medical Review,” a bimonthly, of which only six numbers were issued. They afterward established in Philadelphia the “North American Medico-Chirurgical Review,” which continued to appear till the civil war. Shortly after settling in Philadelphia he founded, with Dr. Da Costa, the Philadelphia pathological society, of which he was the first president. In 1862 Dr. Gross was made a member of the Royal medical society of Vienna. In 1867 he was elected president of the American medical association, and in 1868 a member of the Royal medico-chirurgical society of London, and of the British medical association. In 1872, during his second visit to Europe, the University of Oxford, at its one thousandth commemoration, conferred on him the honorary degree of D. C. L.; and that of LL. D. was given him by the University of Cambridge. He was a member of numerous medical and surgical associations at home and abroad, and was unanimously elected president of the International medical congress which met in Philadelphia in September, 1876. Dr. Gross made many original contributions to surgery. In 1833 he made experiments on rabbits, with a view to throwing light on manual strangulation, which are described in Beck's “Medical Jurisprudence.” He was the first to suggest the suturing of divided nerves and tendons, wiring the ends of bones in certain dislocations, laparotomy in rupture of the bladder, and many other operations, and was the inventor of numerous instruments, including a tourniquet, an instrument for extracting foreign bodies from the ear or nose, and an apparatus for the transfusion of blood. His original investigations were varied, though often carried on with insufficient means and amid adverse surroundings. He began in early life to contribute to medical literature, edited the “American Medical Biography” (1861); and published “Diseases and Injuries of the Bones and Joints” (Philadelphia, 1830); “Elements of Pathological Anatomy” (2 vols., 1839; 3d ed., 1857); “Wounds of the Intestines” (1843); “Diseases, Injuries, and Malformations of the Urinary Organs” (1851; enlarged eds., 1855 and 1876); “Results of Surgical Operations in Malignant Diseases” (1853); “Foreign Bodies in the Air-Passages” (1854); “Report on the Causes which Retard the Progress of American Medical Literature” (1856); “System of Surgery” (2 vols., 1859; 6th ed., with alterations, 1882); “Manual of Military Surgery” (1861; Japanese translation, Tokio, 1874); “John Hunter and his Pupils” (1861); “History of American Medical Literature,” two lectures (1875); and with others “Century of American Medicine” (1876). — His son, Samuel Weissell, surgeon, b. in Cincinnati, Ohio, 4 Feb., 1837; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., 16 April, 1889. He studied medicine in the medical department of the University of Louisville, and at Jefferson medical college, Philadelphia, where he graduated in 1857. He settled in Philadelphia, and soon delivered lectures on surgical anatomy and operative surgery, and subsequently on diseases of the genito-urinary organs, in the Jefferson medical college, and on surgical pathology in the College of physicians, Philadelphia. He was brigade-surgeon and major of volunteers during the entire civil war, and was brevetted lieutenant-colonel at its termination. He was surgeon to the Howard hospital, the Philadelphia hospital, and the hospital of the Jefferson medical college, and in 1882 was appointed professor of the principles of surgery and clinical surgery in the latter institution. He received the degree of LL. D. He was a member of various medical associations, and is the author of a “Practical Treatise on Tumors of the Mammary Gland” (New York, 1880), and a “Practical Treatise on Impotence, Sterility, and Allied Disorders of the Male Sexual Organs” (Philadelphia, 1881; 3d ed., 1887). He rewrote and edited “Gross on the Urinary Organs” (1876), and rendered his father material assistance in the composition of several editions of his “System of Surgery.” He contributed many papers on surgical subjects to periodical medical literature, including several on “Tumors of the Breast.” — Another son, Albert Haller, lawyer, b. in Louisville, Ky., 18 March, 1844, studied at the University of Virginia, and in 1864 was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1867, and in 1868 appointed U. S. attorney for New Mexico, which office he resigned on account of ill health. He was elected in 1882 a member of the select council of Philadelphia. In 1885 he declined the U. S. consulship at Athens, Greece. He has delivered numerous public addresses, in one of which, in 1874, he was among the first in the country to advocate cremation as the proper method of disposing of the dead, and has published numerous poems, and various instrumental and vocal compositions, some of the latter in the French and German languages. He is, with his brother, Dr. Samuel W. Gross, editing the “Autobiography” of his father, and preparing a work on “Cremation.”