Good Thing They Lived

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

William Stewart Halsted M.D.

"American surgeon who emphasized strict aseptic technique during surgical procedures, was an early champion of newly discovered anesthetics, and introduced several new operations, including the radical mastectomy for breast cancer. Throughout his professional life, he was addicted to cocaine and later also to morphine." (

aka: "Father of Modern Surgery" (September 23, 1852 – September 7, 1922)

"The Drug Addict who Gave America Modern Surgery"

New York Times; Published: APRIL 26, 2010; By ABIGAIL ZUGER, M.D.

"As a surgeon William S Halsted's most notable contributions were in the development of a technique for radical mastectomy, the repair of inguinal hernia and the advancement of bowel anastomoses. However, he will perhaps be best remembered for his introduction of the use of the surgical glove and his reasons were probably the least scientific of all those given. Developed by the Goodyear Rubber Company, the jaunts were made to protect the hands of his scrub nurse, Caroline Hampton, the future Mrs. William S Halsted. Another of Halsted's contributions was the development of topical anesthesia using cocaine. A consequence of these experiments was the development of addiction to the drug and his later dependence on morphine."

"Dr. Halsted's influence spread throughout the United States, and indeed the world. Many important surgical programs, In many respects, all of surgery ultimately became 'Halstedian'.” (

Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted


© 2018 by A Bridge Back, Inc.

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