History of Mass General

MGH Hotline 01.14.11 WHILE THE FIRST medical patient at the MGH was a saddler, the first surgical patient was an Irish sailor.

Bicentennial corner 01.14.11

14/Jan/2011

FIRST PATIENTS: An artist's rendering of early Boston, including the Bulfinch Building, far left, circa 1850s

WHILE THE FIRST medical patient at the MGH was a saddler, the first surgical patient was an Irish sailor. He was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 20, 1821, because he had a severe case of hemorrhoids that had been plaguing him for more than 11 years. After a physical examination, it was discovered that the man would need an operation to remove the swollen veins. Caregivers then began the MGH’s first surgical operation during which surgeons passed a curved needle through each structure and gently removed the painful vessels from the man’s body. With little bleeding and a steady recovery, the surgery was a success. The patient was discharged a month later. And so began the history of the MGH as a leader in the art of surgical operations.