American Medical Biographies/Borck, Mathias Adolph Edward

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Borck, Mathias Adolph Edward (1834–1912)

Mathias Adolph Edward Borck, surgeon, was born in Hamburg, Germany, April 18, 1834, son of a German surgeon. His mother, to whom he was indebted for his primary education, was a Dane. At the age of eleven he secured in competition a free scholarship in the Hamburg Gymnasium. During the war between Denmark and Germany, involving Schleswig-Holstein, he served as a volunteer dresser in the military hospital, and after the war returned and graduated in 1851, when he left for America to settle in Baltimore, Maryland, supporting himself for a time by teaching caligraphy. After acquiring some English he entered the University of Maryland, graduating in medicine in 1862. While studying medicine under Nathan R. Smith, Samuel Chew and Edward Dwinnelle, he practised minor surgery and dentistry.

He was an assistant surgeon and surgeon in the United States army 1863–1864. He went with General Banks on the Red River expedition, and was post-surgeon under General Granger. Taken with typho-malarial fever, he resigned at New Orleans and returned to Baltimore and on his recovery moved to Hancock, Maryland, where he practised until 1868. After another brief sojourn in Baltimore he went to Paducah, Kentucky, in 1869, and in 1872 to St. Louis, Missouri, where he practised and sat under the lectures of John T. Hodgen in the St. Louis Medical College. Here he received an additional degree in 1874. One of the organizers of the College for Medical Practitioners of St. Louis, he was professor of surgical diseases of children there, 1882–1884; he was a capable post-graduate teacher.

Borck was the first surgeon to advocate and practise the subcutaneous division of the capsule in hip disease in the second stage, the stage of serous or synovial effusion. He wrote on fracture of the femur, abjuring straight splints, and he carried his reports of his ovariotomies on from a single case in 1878, up to fifty in 1885, with five deaths, to one hundred cases in 1895.

In 1884 he went as delegate to the eighth International Medical Congress at Copenhagen and remained abroad to study. He attended, also, the tenth Congress at Berlin, in 1890.

He was an artist with the brush, the Marion Sims Medical College having many of his double life-size anatomical paintings, and he was a skilful pianist.

Married in 1854, his widow, Dr. Henrietta Stoffregen Borck, survived him.

He died in St. Louis Jan. 20, 1912.

Emin. Amer. Phys. & Surgs., R. F. Stone, 1894.