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UMKC History Professor Reconstructs the History of Surgery before Anesthesia

The Best Surgeon in England: Percivall Pott, 1713-88Lynda Payne publishes new book about “the best surgeon” in 18th century England.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s History Department is proud to announce the publication Professor Lynda Payne’s new book, The Best Surgeon in England: Percivall Pott, 1713-88, about the influential English surgeon Percivall Pott, whose practice of surgery was praised for being methodical, skilled and measured.

Payne, a specialist in the history of science and medicine, challenges the belief that the practice of surgery prior to the invention of general anesthesia was “a realm of screaming patients and larger than life eccentric medical men whose primary aims were to operate as fast as possible.” The goal of her new book is to humanize and historicize medical practices by looking at the biography of this landmark teacher and practitioner. Continue reading