Dangerous Operation on Thomas A. Edison

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Dangerous Operation on Thomas A. Edison  (1905) 

The New York Times, Page 1, January 24, 1905



Surgeons Remove Mastoid Abscess Near the Inventor's Ear.


Action Hurried to Prevent Blood Poisoning-Patient Has Long Suffered from Trouble.


Special to The New York Times.

ORANGE, Tuesday, Jan. 24. - A serious operation was performed on Thomas A. Edison, the investor, at his home, Glenmont, in Llewellyn Park, a suburb of West Orange, last last night, and at 1:30 o'clock this morning he had not recovered from the effects of the anaesthetic.

The operation was for a mastoid abscess behind the left ear and very close to the brain. The doctors began work shortly before 11 o'clock and finished at midnight. The operating surgeon was Dr. Arthur B. Duel of 254 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, assisted by Dr. Edward B. Bench of 17 West Forty-fifth Street, an assistant, who administered the anaesthetic. Dr. John Hammond Bradshaw of Orange, the Edison family physician, was also present.

Mr. Edison, as has been generally known, has been deaf for many years. He was taken ill about a year ago, suffering great pain, but was still able to be about. An operation was broached several days ago, but there was strong hope until yesterday that it might be avoided.

It developed yesterday, however, that, while Mr. Edison was better in many particulars, the growth was not yielding to treatment, and the conclusion was reached that the operation would have to be performed at once.

Mr. Edison was told, and immediately preparations were made. Dr. Duel arrived in Orange after dinner with his assistant. Mr. Edison seemed perfectly composed though fully realizing the seriousness of the matter.

At 1:40 o'clock this morning it was said that Mr. Edison's general condition was good and that there was no immediate danger. The operation was pronounced a success, and it was said that it had been performed just in time to save much more serious trouble. Dr. Bradshaw made the following statement:

"It was decided this afternoon that it was best to operate before Mr. Edison's life was placed in jeopardy and to prevent blood poisoning. The indications thus far are favorable. Mr. Edison has rallied well and there are no untoward symptoms at the present time. His life is not now considered in danger."

Dr. Duel, it was said, would remain at the patient's bedside all night.

The annual ball of the employes of the Edison works at West Orange, numbering about 2,000, was held here to-night, under the auspices of the factory fire department. Many of the higher officials of the company attended, all being ignorant of the fact that their chief was under the surgeon's knife. Mr. Edison is fifty-seven years old.

This work was published before January 1, 1926 and it is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 100 years or less since publication.