Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BEAUMONT, William, physician, born in Lebanon, Connecticut, in 1796 ; died in St. Louis, No., 25 April 1853. He was a surgeon in the United States army, and when stationed at Mackinac, Mich., in 1822, had occasion to treat a young man named Alexis St. Martin, who had received the discharge of a shotgun in his left side. By good care the wound was healed, but an opening remained, about two and a half inches in diameter, penetrating into the stomach. Through this aperture Dr. Beaumont was able to watch the process of digestion and to make experiments, extending over a series of years, regarding the digestibility of the different kinds of food and the effect upon the stomach of alcohol and various drugs; and he was the first to obtain the gastric juice and study its properties. The re-suits of these physiological experiments were published in 1833, and attracted much attention in America and Europe. After resigning from the army, Dr. Beaumont practiced medicine in St. Louis, and he continued the experiments upon St. Martin until his own death.
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