Louis Alexander Dugas de Vallon
Biography of Louis Alexander Dugas de Vallon
Louis Alexander Dugas was born to French parents who had emigrated from Santo Domingo in the West Indies in the early 1790's. He was educated at home and studied medicine under Dr. John Dent. He attended courses of lectures at the Philadelphia Medical Institute, then studied for to years and was graduated at the medical department of the University of Maryland in 1827. He spent the next four years in Europe traveling and studying in England, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy, but making Paris headquarters.
Dugas settled in Augusta, Georgia, in 1831. In 1832 he united with five others in founding the Medical College of Georgia, where he became professor of anatomy, and then of physiology. In 1834, each faculty member contributed $1,000 for him to go to Europe to purchase materials for a library and museum. On this occasion he stayed for a prolonged period of time in Paris. He returned with a fine and valuable collection, most of which has been preserved and is currently housed in the Special Collections of the Greenblatt Library.
Dugas was professor of principles and practice of surgery from 1855 to 1883. He was editor of the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal from 1851-1858. For many years he was president of the Medical Society of Augusta, and he was president of the Medical Association of Georgia.
He was Dean of the Medical College of Georgia 1861-1876, and its first librarian. During the civil war he volunteered as a consulting surgeon of military hospitals. In 1869 the University of Georgia conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Law – L. L. D – upon him. He was one of the vice presidents at the International Medical Congress in Philadelphia in 1876. His main surgical field was surgery of bladder stones.
Dugas was the only surgeon south of Virginia to perform the Civiale technique of lithotrity (crushing a urinary stone within the bladder), and the only U.S. surgeon performing ligature of the ischiatic artery for aneurysm. He outlined a bold approach for treating abdominal wounds with which he claimed success.
Dugas was also interested in geology and in 1834 was elected to the Geological Society of France.