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John Hunter
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Doctor
    (February 13, 1728-October 16, 1793)
    Born in Long Calderwood, Scotland, United Kingdom
    Surgeon and anatomist
    British Army surgeon (1760-63)
    Founded an anatomy school in London (1764)
    Appointed surgeon to King George III (1776)
    Named Surgeon General of the Army (1790)
    Collection of human and animal anatomical specimens preserved at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons
    He started as a dentist, specializing in unsuccessful attempts at transplanting teeth.
    Like most anatomy teachers of his day, he bought bodies from grave robbers.
    He bribed a mortician £500 to get the body of 7'10 Irish giant Charles Byrne for his collection.
    He claimed gonorrhea and syphilis were manifestations of the same disease, setting back VD research fifty years.
    A popular (but untrue) rumor claimed that he tested his theory by inoculating himself with gonorrhea from a patient, but unknowingly used a needle that was contaminated with syphilis. When he developed both diseases, he claimed it proved his theory.
    Two of his children died in infancy.
    When two leopards from his menagerie escaped and attacked some dogs, he ran into the middle of the melee, grabbed the leopards by the scruffs of their necks and dragged them back to their cages.
    He was an early advocate of careful observation and following the scientific method in medicine.
    He contributed to the understanding of bone growth, digestion, the function of the lymph system, child development and the separation of maternal and fetal blood supplies.
    He appreciated the dangers of surgery in his day and urged his students to never perform an operation that they would be unwilling to undergo themselves.
    Sir James Paget said, 'Hunter made us gentlemen. When he entered surgery, it was a trade. When he died, it had become a science.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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