Rudolph Matas

Rudolph Matas

Rudolph Matas (1860-1957), born in Bonne Carre, Louisiana, was a prominent and innovative surgeon. He was the first to use spinal anesthesia in the United States, the developer of the intravenous drip, and the first to surgically repair aneurysms. Many of his publications continue to be cited through the 2000s. [ 1]

William Osler called him the "Father of Vascular Surgery." He was a founding member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and a member of its first council in 1917. The Rudolph Matas Award in Vascular Surgery is considered the "world's premier recognition for surgery of the heart and blood vessels." [ 2] ,

Matas contributed a great deal to New Orleans, including directing the "New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal", actively supporting the New Orleans Charity Hospital, and Professor of Surgery at Tulane University. [ Tulane's medical library] is named in his honor, despite the journal "Science" stating that "his colleagues have felt for many years that by consulting him they could extract more information from his encyclopedic mind than they could obtain from a visit to a library." (Science, 1934)

The story of Matas's "secret operation" circulated in New Orleans for many years. In Isidore Cohen's 1960 book, it was revealed that William Stewart Halsted had operated on Matas for "a mass" in 1903. On Matas's death, the autopsy revealed the right testicle had been removed surgically many years ago. (Nunn, 1992) During World War I, he led the United States School for War Fractures. (AATS: Council Meetings)


* Cohn, Isidore. "Rudolph Matas: a Biography of One of the Great Pioneers in Surgery". Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1960.
* [ AATS: Council Meetings] . Accessed June 13, 2007.
* [ AATS: Biography - Rudolph Matas] . Accessed June 13, 2007.
* Southern History. [ Rudolph Matas] Accessed June 13, 2007.
* Editors. (1934.) [ THE RUDOLPH MATAS AWARD] . "Science" 79(2038):51.
* Nunn DB. (1992) Dr. Halsted secret operation on Dr Matas. Ann Surg 216(1):87-93. [ Free full text] .
* Rudolph Matas, M.D. (1860-1957), papers (ca. 1860-1960), Manuscripts Collection 868, 55 linear feet. Correspondence, lectures, speeches, diaries, and other materials documenting Matas' career as physician, surgeon, teacher, and scientist. Located in the Tulane Manuscripts Department, Tulane University's Special Collections Division: [] .
* Rudolph Matas Bibliography compiled by staff members of the Rudolph Matas Library (PDF, 56MB) []

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