- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Thomas George Morton

Born 1835
Died 1903

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American surgeon, born August 8, 1835, Philadelphia; died May 20, 1903.

Biography of Thomas George Morton

Thomas George Morton was the son of Samuel George Morton (1799-1851), professor of anatomy at Pennsylvania College. He chose the same career as his father, qualifying as doctor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1856. In 1857 he became head physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital and trained particularly in surgery. Following some years of training in surgery he took an active part in the American civil war, when he distinguished himself as an outstanding operator, but most of all as a hospital administrator. He was the driving force behind several military hospitals, for which he achieved nationwide renown. From 1862 to 1865, with David Hayes Agnew (1818-1892), headed the largest war hospital in the United States, with 500 beds, at Mary Hospital at Philadelphia. From 1859 to 1874 he was a surgeon with the Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia (founded 1832).

On November 12, 1861, he married Ann Jenks Kirkbride in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Morton was professor of clinical and operative surgery at the Philadelphia Clinic for Graduates, his lectures attracting thousands of students. On April 27, 1886, Morton was one of the first to remove an appendix after a correct diagnosis with the patient surviving.

Morton founded several hospitals, among them Philadelphia Orthopaedic Hospital, and the Infirmary for Nervous Diseases, the latter wit Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914). He was a member of the board of several organisations of various purposes, one of them the Pennsylvanian Society for the Restriction of Vivisection, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Thomas Morton was also a prolific writer on diverse medical themes. His paper "The transfusion of blood and its practical application" was considered a standard work. But it is his work on metatarsalgia, published in 1876, for which he is still remembered. Morton died in 1903, at the age of 68 years, of cholera.

We thank W. Morton for information submitted.

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