- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Myron Firth Metzenbaum

Born 1876-04-01
Died 1944-24-01

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American surgeon, born April 1, 1876, Cleveland, Ohio; died January 25, 1944.

Biography of Myron Firth Metzenbaum

Myron Firth Metzenbaum was the son of Joseph and Fanny Firth Metzenbaum. He attended the Adelbert College and the Case School of Applied Science. He received his Bachelor degree from the Ada University and his M.D. in 1900 from Case Western University. He then did post-graduate work in Vienna, Austria, and London.

During his first week of medical school, Metzenbaum met the surgeon George Crile (1864-1944), who was searching for a volunteer to live in the hospital and be available to administer ether anesthesia to trauma patients. Realizing the need for emergent aid for seriously injured patients, he created a city-run ambulance service.

Building his own practice in the Cleveland area, he specialized in oral and reconstructive surgery, soon developing a large referral base for cleft lip and palate repairs. He worked in the St. Alexis Hospital, and later in the Mt. Sinai Medical Center and the St. Luke Hospital. He also tgaught physicians and surgeons at the Cleveland College for Physicians and Surgeons (Medical Department of Ohio Wesleyan).

On March 20, 1912 Metzenbaum married Elsa Puldheim. They had two children. Metzenbaum was the uncle of the US senator Howard Metzenbaum (1917-2008).

Because Metzenbaum failed to apply for a patent, ”his” scissors are called ”Mao Tse Tung” Scissors in Red China, ”Mahatma Ghandi” Scissors in India, and "Her Majesty's Most Excellent Dissecing Scissors" in Great Britain.

The scissors are used by clinicians in a large number of fields and have even been mentioned in popular media, like the TV Show M’A’S’H and the movie ”The man with two brains”.

In 1904, Metzenbaum received Government Medal for original research in the medical value of radium.

We thank Dr. Sharapov, Canada, and Robert P. Turk, MD, for information submitted.

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