Document Detail

Lester R. Dragstedt 1893-1975. Chronic ulcerative colitis. A summary of evidence implicating Bacterium necrophorum as an etiologic agent.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3042305     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Lester Dragstedt was born in Anaconda, Montana, the son of Swedish immigrant parents. His entire college and professional education took place at the University of Chicago, where he received a B.S. degree in 1915, a master's degree in physiology in 1916, a Ph.D. in physiology in 1920, and the M.D. degree (from Rush) in 1921. His first academic appointment was as a physiologist at the State University of Iowa. In 1925 Dragstedt was recruited by Dallas B. Phemister to help design the new University Hospital research facilities on the campus of the University of Chicago. Following completion of this responsibility Phemister appointed Dragstedt as Associate Professor of Surgery, stating, "I can teach surgery to a physiologist; I am interested in teaching physiology to surgeons." In 1947 Dragstedt succeeded Phemister as chairman, a post he occupied until his retirement in 1959. Dragstedt was regarded as a skilled clinician as well as a dexterous and artistic surgeon. But he was particularly recognized for his contributions as physiologist-surgeon in the treatment of diseases of the pancreas, parathyroids, and especially diseases of the stomach. In 1943, he performed a transthoracic vagotomy on a patient with a duodenal ulcer who refused to accept the standard operation, subtotal gastrectomy. A lesser known but classical work of Dragstedt and his coworkers is reproduced here for this series. Dragstedt was the originator of the skin-grafted ileostomy in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. The author describes a complete "take" of the split-thickness graft in four patients, although he observed that the "resulting ileostomy looked somewhat like a penis." One can only surmise about the psychologic disability that would be produced. The stoma could, however, be fitted with an appliance that would minimize the risk of abdominal wall digestion. When reading the article and understanding the experimental studies proposing the possible causative organism of ulcerative colitis, one is impressed by Dragstedt's creative thinking. Dragstedt's renown as a basic scientist was illustrated by his election to the National Academy of Sciences. Following his Chicago retirement he became again a full-time physiologist with appointments as research professor in both the department of surgery and the department of physiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Active until the end, he died at his summer home on Elk Lake, Michigan on July 16, 1975.
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Biography; Classical Article; Historical Article; Journal Article; Portraits; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Diseases of the colon and rectum     Volume:  31     ISSN:  0012-3706     ISO Abbreviation:  Dis. Colon Rectum     Publication Date:  1988 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1988-09-13     Completed Date:  1988-09-13     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372764     Medline TA:  Dis Colon Rectum     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  658-64     Citation Subset:  IM; Q    
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MeSH Terms
Colitis, Ulcerative / etiology,  history*
Colorectal Surgery / history
Fusobacterium Infections / history*
Fusobacterium necrophorum
History, 20th Century
Personal Name Subject
Personal Name Subject:
L R Dragstedt

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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