Source: St. Paul Medical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: public address
Document title: “Time as an Element in Abdominal Surgery”
Author(s): Richardson, Maurice H.
Date of publication: June 1905
Volume number: 7
Issue number: 6
Pagination: 381-404 (excerpt below includes only pages 383-84)
|Richardson, Maurice H. “Time as an Element in Abdominal Surgery.” St. Paul Medical Journal June 1905 v7n6: pp. 381-404.|
|Maurice H. Richardson (public addresses); William McKinley (surgery); William McKinley (medical care: personal response).|
“Read before the Obstetrical Society of Boston, March 28, 1905” (p. 381).
“By Maurice H. Richardson, M. D., Professor of Clinical Surgery, Harvard University, Boston” (p. 381).
Time as an Element in Abdominal Surgery [excerpt]
In acute abdominal emergencies—all of which
are signalized by abdominal pain more or less severe—is it justifiable to waste
the precious moments which alone make recovery possible in waiting for symptoms
confirming a probable diagnosis? The answer to this question depends somewhat
perhaps upon the suspected lesion. Some conditions certainly permit greater
latitude in verifying diagnosis than others. Moreover, in very few instances
is it possible for the physician to reach the bedside of the patient before
the signs sufficiently confirmatory of the diagnosis exist; and still longer
time must elapse before the surgeon can be called and before he can make his
preparations for operation. 
Occasionally the surgeon sees the case at the very earliest possible time. I have always thought that the extraordinary promptness of the surgical intervention in the case of the late President McKinley gave him the only possible chance of recovery. We cannot often hope, however, to be called so early in the acute emergencies of abdominal surgery. Even if the surgeon is sent for at the very onset of acute abdominal pain caused by any of the lesions that I have mentioned, before he can reach the patient and complete his preparations for operation, secondary signs of great importance will have supervened, and he will be reasonably sure that he is on the right track.