Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PANCOAST, Joseph, surgeon, born in Burlington county, New Jersey, in 1805; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 March, 1882. He was graduated at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1828, practised as a surgeon in Philadelphia, and in 1831 began to teach classes in practical anatomy and surgery, he was chosen one of the physicians of the Blockley hospital in 1834, soon afterward was made head physician of the children's hospital connected with it, and from 1838 till 1845 was one of the visiting surgeons. In 1838 he was elected professor of surgery in Jefferson medical college, and in 1847 was transferred to the chair of anatomy, which he filled till 1874, when he was succeeded by his son, William H. Pancoast. From 1854 till 1864 he was one of the surgeons to the Pennsylvania hospital. Dr. Pancoast was the originator' of an operation for soft cataract with a fine needle, bent near the point. He devised many new operations in plastic surgery, among them the formation of a nose by means of the plough and groove or plastic suture, introduced in 1841; a substitute for the eyebrow, formed from a flap of the scalp; the introduction of a catheter for empyema into the pleura by raising a flap of the integuments over the ribs; turning down flaps from the skin of the abdomen for the relief of exstrophy of the bladder, which was first performed by him in 1868 ; and the raising of a flap over the coronoid process, and the removal of that process and part of the lower jaw in order to divide the trunks of the nerves that cause pain in facial neuralgia. He discovered that in some cases of strabismus the internal oblique muscle must be cut. He has restored the voice by dividing the muscles of the soft palate that have become contracted from ulceration. He also devised an abdominal tourniquet, which he first used in 1860, for compressing the aorta, and thus preventing" death from loss of blood in amputation at the hip-joint or upper thigh. He was a member of the American philosophical society, and of various medical and scientific associations. Besides numerous contributions to the "American Journal of the Medical Sciences," the "American Medical Intelligencer," and the "Medical Examiner," essays and introductory lectures to his , :lassos, of which the most notable was "Professional Glimpses Abroad," and various pathological and surgical monographs and reports of new operations, he published a translation from the Latin of J. Frederick Lobstein's "Treatise on the Structure, Functions, and Diseases of the Human Sympathetic Nerve" (Philadelphia, 1831); "Treatise on Operative Surgery, including Descriptions of all the New Operations," his greatest work (1844; revised ed., 1852); and "A System of Anatomy for the Use of Students," based on the work of Casper Wistar (1844). He edited "Manet on the Great Sympathetic Nerve "; the "Cerebro-Spinal Axis of Man," by the same author (1841) ; and "Quain's Anatomical Plates" (1852).--His son, William Henry, surgeon, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 16 October, 1835, was graduated at the Jefferson medical college in 1856, studied for three years in London, Paris, and Vienna, and on his return established himself in practice in Philadelphia, and acquired a high reputation as a bold, rapid, and skilful operative surgeon, conservative in treatment and seldom mistaken in diagnosis. During the civil war he served as a surgeon in the army. In 1874 he succeeded his father as professor in Jefferson medical college. In 1884 he secured the bodies of the Siamese twins, and proved that the band could not have been safely cut except in their childhood. He became professor of the Philadelphia medico-chirurgical college in 1886.
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