In 1894, William Stewart Halsted published The Results of Operations for the Cure of Cancer of the Breast Performed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from June, 1889, to January, 1894, in the medical journal Annals of Surgery. In the article, Halsted describes the results from fifty of his operations on women with breast cancer, performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Those operations involved a surgical procedure Halsted called radical mastectomy, which consists in removing all of the patient’s breast tissue, chest muscle, and underarm lymph nodes. Halsted’s surgery effectively cured breast cancer in a time period when no other effective treatment options were available. The radical mastectomy remained the standard of care from the 1890s to the 1970s as a means of treating a type of reproductive cancer common to women.
William Withey Gull studied paraplegia, anorexia, and hormones as a physician in England during the nineteenth century. In addition to caring for patients, he described the role of the posterior column of the spinal cord in paraplegia, and he was among the first to describe the conditions of anorexia and of hypochondria. He also researched the effects of thyroid hormone deficiencies in women who had malfunctioning thyroid glands. Gull's research on thyroid hormone confirmed that chemicals in the body directly affect health, and he contributed to the foundation of endocrinology, the scientific field for the study of hormones.
Many difficulties can arise with a pregnancy even after the sperm successfully fertilizes the oocyte. A major problem occurs if the fertilized egg tries to implant before reaching its normal implantation site, the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants anywhere other than in the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies cannot continue to term, so a physician must remove the developing embryo as early as possible. Although no longer a significant risk to the mother's life due to improved detection methods as well as treatment procedures following detection, ectopic pregnancies can still pose a major risk to the mother's health if not detected early. If the fallopian tube ruptures as a result of an ectopic pregnancy, the physician can either try to repair the fallopian tube or remove the damaged portion. Various risk factors predisposing women to a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy include fallopian tube scarring, damaged fallopian tubes due to past ectopic pregnancies, or an inflamed fallopian tube.
Umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells are hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) that are recovered from the blood of the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. Umbilical cord blood is rich in cells that express the CD34 molecule, a surface protein that identifies cells as stem cells. Prior to the discovery of UCB stem cells, it was standard procedure to discard the umbilical cord and placenta; now much effort is devoted to raising public awareness and to encouraging people to store or donate cord blood. The importance of these cells lies in potential clinical treatments of blood-borne diseases, as well as the possibility of restoring cells of other lineages, such as cardiac and neural cells. These possible uses have given rise to cord blood stem cell banking, both private and public, where cells can be frozen and stored for later use.
Johns Hopkins Medical Center, located in Baltimore, Maryland, opened in 1889; its associated medical school opened four years later. Today the hospital, a leading research center, contains many departments, including a fertility center that is renowned for taking on difficult cases that have been rejected by other fertility clinics. The fertility center was founded by physician Georgeanna Seegar Jones in 1939 as the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in the gynecology department. The division expanded once formal training in reproductive endocrinology began in 1973. With the growth of this department came new developments; by 1984 the center was offering a variety of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for individuals unable to conceive a child naturally. Johns Hopkins gynecology department is ranked second out of 4,800 hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking for America's best hospitals in 2009-2010.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus. For many women, a hysterectomy comes as a solution to health problems as diverse as abnormal bleeding to reproductive cancers. First performed in the early 1800s, this procedure has evolved in terms of both technique and popularity. The first successful abdominal hysterectomy was performed by Ellis Burnham in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1853, although earlier attempts were made in the 1840s. These first hysterectomies were not performed under effective anesthetics-it was not until later in 1853 that a patient of surgeon Gilman Kimball would benefit from the use of chloroform. The hysterectomy of the modern era has become a common and much safer procedure-so common, in fact, that many believe that the hysterectomy is performed too often and in place of other, perhaps healthier, alternatives. In addition to its inherent surgical risks, a hysterectomy also makes it impossible for a woman to have further children.
Endoscopy is a medical procedure that enables the viewing and biopsy of, and surgery on, internal tissues and organs. Endoscopic examinations are characterized by the introduction of a tube containing a series of lenses into the body through either an incision in the skin or a natural opening or cavity. During the mid-twentieth century, photographer Lennart Nilsson used endoscopes to capture the now-familiar images of embryos and fetuses. Examples of endoscopic procedures beyond embryonic observation include colonoscopy, cystoscopy, neurosurgery, endoscopic sinus surgery, appendectomy, and many more.
This scrapbook is part of the Harvard University Library's collection on "Working Women, 1800-1930," which is itself part of the Open Collections Program. The print version is located at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. It contains information about the hospital, including articles from newspapers, magazines, and other publications; photographs of the hospital, employees, and special events; lecture announcements; letters and other forms of correspondence; ration cards; tickets; forms; certificates; posters; programs; and playbills. The following is a selection of scrapbook components relevant to embryology. However, because of the length of the scrapbook, other entries may provide insight for future research endeavors. References point to particular pages in the scrapbook.
Georgeanna Seegar Jones was a reproductive endocrinologist who created one of America' s most successful infertility clinics in West Virginia and eventually, along with her husband Howard W. Jones MD, performed the first in vitro fertilization in America, leading to the birth of Elizabeth Jordan Carr. Jones was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on 6 July 1912. Her father, Dr. John King Beck Emory Seegar, was a practicing physician at the time working in the field of obstetrics. Early in her childhood Jones had a broken bone that eventually became infected and caused a great deal of pain, inspiring her to go into the field of medicine.
Patrick Christopher Steptoe was a British gynecologist responsible for major advances in gynecology and reproductive technology. Throughout his career Steptoe promoted laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique that allows a view inside the abdominal cavity, successfully advancing its usefulness in gynecology. After partnering with embryologist Robert Edwards in 1966, the pair performed the first in vitro fertilization in humans.