6 - Sexual Surgery From Ovarotomy to Sex Change Charles...

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Sexual Surgery From Ovarotomy to Sex Change
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Charles Knowlton, M.D. Fruits of Philosophy: Or The Private Companion of Young Married Adults (1832) “Strange as it now seems to me, and must seem to others, I spent days and nights in close reflection on this point, before I arrived at my present mature idea. A first thought that glanced through my mind, was to wash out the semen with the syringe; but then it occurred to me, that this would not answer, because almost certainly there would be a trifle of semen lodged among the folds and ridges of the vagina that would not be washed away, and this trifle would be enough to cause conception. . . .
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Knowlton advocates douching “So this idea was dismissed; but it at length occurred to me, to add something to the waster that should not hurt the woman, but yet kill the little tender animalcules, or in other words, destroy the fecundating property of the semen . . .”
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Gender in General Practice In the 19 th century, the general practitioner was a family friend as well as a medical practitioner, and the key to his success was his relationship with the wife. Modesty inhibited extensive physical examination, especially with female patients.
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A Limited Therapeutic Arsenal
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Birth of Gynecological Surgery
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McDowell removes ovarian cyst Ephraim McDowell was the first surgeon to successfully remove an ovarian cyst. He did it on Christmas day in 1809 for Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford, the 47-year-old mother of 4 living children. How did this happen in Kentucky rather than some great European medical center?
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Invading the Peritoneum McDowell had gone to Edinburgh in 1793, age 21, to study with John Bell, the leading British anatomist, who solemnly warned surgical students that the abdomen was forbidden territory. Bell appreciated the potential good from attacking pathological structures, but emphasized the perils of infection. Thus, in a great medical center, innovation might be inhibited by opinion and the surveillance of others. On the frontier of Kentucky, McDowell could respond to Mrs. Crawford’s plea for help. In 20 minutes he removed two masses, weighing 15 and 7.5 pounds, using “cherry bounce” (opium and ethanol) to steady the patient. On the fifth day after surgery she made her bed; on the 25 th she rode the seventy miles home on horseback, and she lived 30 more years. McDowell
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6 - Sexual Surgery From Ovarotomy to Sex Change Charles...

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