Back To CourseHuman Biology Study Guide
19 chapters | 266 lessons
Joshua is a Sports Medicine and Athletic Training Instructor and has a Master's degree in Kinesiology.
Harvey Williams Cushing was born on April 8, 1869, in Cleveland, Ohio. He was the youngest of his 9 other siblings. Cushing became interested in medicine after attending the Cleveland Manual Training School, designed to be a trade school that focused on science and medicine. In 1891, Cushing graduated with his bachelor's degree from Yale University. He then moved to Harvard Medical School to pursue a career in surgery. During this time, medical school was only a 3-year requirement with an optional fourth year if desired. Cushing decided to enroll for a fourth year where he served at both Boston Children's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In June of 1895, Cushing graduated cum laude from Harvard Medical School and began his internship at Massachusetts General Hospital
After completion of his internship, Cushing was one of the few physicians at the time invited to study at the new Department of Surgery residency program at Johns Hopkins. It was there that Cushing was able to serve and train under the leadership of two of the founding giants of medicine, Dr. William Halsted who is regarded as the Founding Father of Modern Surgery; and Dr. William Osler, considered the Father of Modern Medicine. Dr. Cushing began to create a popular name for himself in the world of medicine performing the first modern brain surgery in the United States in 1902. This was the same year he married his wife, Katharine Crowell. They would have a total of 5 children together.
Over the next few years, Dr. Cushing continued to make advancements in the medical world while traveling around Europe and learning and gaining experience from world renowned physicians. Dr. Cushing then began training other medical students in neurosurgery eventually training 22 residents from the period of around 1911 to 1932. His teachings combined with the amount of literature and continued advancements he made in this surgery subspecialty changed the way people viewed and practiced neurosurgery. He became widely known as the Founding Father of Neurosurgery.
Dr. Cushing was famous for many of his published papers and books. In 1925 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for a biography he wrote on one of his mentors, Dr. William Osler. When World War 1 began Dr. Cushing was appointed a special position to create and oversee a mobile medical unit stationed in France. After the war, Dr. Cushing served as the Chief of Surgery at Harvard Medical School until he retired in 1933. Dr. Harvey Cushing passed away on October 7, 1939, from complications of a heart attack.
Dr. Cushing has a long list of medical accomplishments and inventions. His first major medical accomplishment occurred during the latter part of his medical studies after one of his patients died during a procedure in which he was anesthetizing. This incident combined with the lack of patient care that was being provided at that time in terms of vital monitoring led Dr. Cushing along with another fellow medical student, Ernest Amory Codman, to create and develop the first record keeping program to keep track of a patient's respiration rate and pulse during a procedure. This became known as the Ether Chart and is still very close to the type of records kept today.
Another important moment in American medicine came from the x-ray or radiograph as it is properly known. Dr. Cushing did not invent the x-ray, that credit goes to physicist Wilhelm Röntgen. However, Cushing is widely credited as being responsible for bringing this new technology at the time from Europe to the United States where he worked at Johns Hopkins.
In addition to technology, Dr. Cushing was always involved in research and advancing the medical profession. One example of this came in the year 1900 when he published findings that claimed the gastrointestinal region, meaning the stomach and small intestinal area could become sterilized or be free from bacteria; by withholding food and liquid for a certain period of time. This became vital in the world of gastrointestinal surgical procedures and is still widely practiced today.
One of Dr. Cushing's most famous accomplishments is arguably the advancements he made in regard to blood pressure measurements. In 1896 an Italian physician by the name of Scipione Riva-Rocci developed a way to measure systolic pressure in the arteries with the use of a mercury manometer instrument. This is the earliest example of what would become the sphygmomanometer that we know today for measuring blood pressure. Dr. Cushing is credited for bringing this technology back to the United States and it quickly became easier for physicians to measure blood pressure and became a standard vital sign device.
Dr. Cushing is also well known for the discovery of a condition that has since been named after him, Cushing's Disease, which involves high levels of the hormone cortisol being released from the pituitary gland.
Dr. Harvey Cushing is noted for many advancements in the world of medicine, but few know that he also thoroughly enjoyed reading and writing. Many of Dr. Cushing's quotes were very philosophical in nature. Here are a few of his more famous quotes:
''A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man - he must view the man in his world.'' - Dr. Harvey Cushing
''I would like to see the day when somebody would be appointed surgeon somewhere who had no hands, for the operative part is the least part of the work.'' - Dr. Harvey Cushing
In this lesson, we discussed the biography of a neurosurgeon, Dr. Harvey Cushing. We also looked at some of the highlights of his career including being trained under two of the founding fathers of medicine, Dr. William Halsted and Dr. William Osler. Dr. Cushing would go on to become known as the Founding Father of Neurosurgery. We also discussed some of his inventions and major accomplishments including bringing both the x-ray and the sphygmomanometer to the United States. He also created the first patient vital record keeping system during surgical procedures called the Ether Chart. We also looked at a few of his more well-known quotes to gain a better understanding of this pioneer in surgery.
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Back To CourseHuman Biology Study Guide
19 chapters | 266 lessons
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