Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/228

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MOTT 200

ed to rob me of some of my operations, but I stand on the firm and immovable rock of tnitli, and none of tlioni make me afraid."

He was born at Glen Cove, Oyster Baj^ Lone Island, on August 20, 1785, son of Dr. Henry Mott. As a schoolboy ho had private tuition in Newtown, Lonji Island, and then attended medical lectures at Columbia College, working as well under his relative Dr. Valentine Seaman. Like all young doctors who could afford it, he straightway, after graduating M. D. in 1S06, went to Europe, first to London, where he saw all the best men at work and became a pupil of Sir Astley Cooper. At Edinburgh he consorted with men like Hope, Playfair and Gregory and wanted afterwards to get into France in spite of the Anglo-Franco War and Napoleon's prohibition against foreigners. He had some idea of smuggling himself over on a small fishing boat, but friends dissuaded him. In the spring of LS09, he returned to New York and, feeling the competency of genius, succeeded in getting permission from the trustees of Columbia College to lecture and demonstrate on operative surgery, being the first in New York to give private lectures.

In 1811, although only twenty-six, he was elected professor of surgery at Co- lumbia College and when the medical faculty of that college and the College of Physicians and Surgeons were united he was soon given the post of professor of surgery. Here he continued until 1826, but, difficulties arising between the pro- fessors and trustees on principles of col- lege government, he resigned and with his able associates founded Rutger's Medical College.

The vast reputation which Dr. Mott enjoyed was due mainly to his original operations; his bold carefulness when undertaking that which was entirely new and his great success in rescuing from prolonged suffering the victims of a morbid growth. Many a time was he called upon to perform at midnight by the flickering aid of a candle, operations not onlj' difficult in themselves but dangerous to


the patient and without any assistance than that of excited relatives or ignorant friends. 8o intent was the young pro- fessor on practical improvement that in the very face of severe penal laws he went one dark night, dressed as a poor worknuin and driving a common cart, to a lonely graveyard where his confeder- ates unearthed eleven bodies. He drove back all alone to the Medical College with his perilous load, for he jeoparded not only his professional reputation but his life in order to advance scientific knowledge.

He was the first, or one of the first, in the States to give clinical instruction. When but thirty-three he placed a liga- ture around the bracheo-cephaUc trunk only two inches from the heart for aneu- rysm of the right subclavian artery for the first time in the history of surgery, and the patient survived twenty-eight days, dying from secondary hemorrhage.

In 1828 he exsected the entire right clavicle for maUgnant disease, where it was necessary to apply forty hgatures and expose the pleura. He has priority, too, in tying the primitive iliac artery for aneurysm successfully, and early intro- duced his original operation for immobil- ity of the lower jaw in 1832. In 1821 he performed the first operation for osteo- sarcoma of the lower jaw and was the first to remove it for necrosis. Sir Astley Cooper said " He has performed more of the great operations than any man liv- ing." And all this before anesthetics, when stout arms had to hold down the ^vrithing man and firm strength keep proportionally quiet the shrieking child.

When Rutger's Medical College finally closed in 1831, Mott was re-appointed professor of operative surgery in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, but, his health failing a little, in 1834 he traveled in Europe, A.sia and Africa. " It was during these travels that, full of love for his profession and always ready for a surgical operation he tied the caro- tids of a cock in the valley of the Peneus and sacrificed him to Aesculapius. Mott returned to New York after six years'