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Early Treatment of “Fibroid Disease of the Womb” with Electricity

Signed by Gilman Kimball

$400
Item: 22361
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KIMBALL, GILMAN. (1804-1892). American surgeon and the first to intentionally plan and perform an abdominal hysterectomy for fibroids of the uterus (August 1853). ALS. (“G. Kimball”). 2 ½ pp. 8vo. Lowell, April 10, 1879. To Mrs. Hanson.

I was disappointed in not meeting you at the Lowell Depot on Tuesday at the time arranged when you left my office. But failing to get an opportunity to talk with you at that time, in regard to your case, I now state in substance what I would then have said. Your case is what we call a fibroid disease of the womb – & is similar in character to that of Miss Fitz’s, to which you referred & which was successfully treated several years ago. And as regards the treatment to be adopted in your case it should be, in my judgment, the same as that in her case vis. galvanism, together with some treatment of medical character. Dr. Chase understands all about the treatment by galvanism & will explain it to you upon your calling on him – If you should conclude to try it. I think I could arrange with Dr. Chase so that he could attend to the operation after one application by myself & for this purpose I should be willing to lend him my Battery so that the operation may be repeated from time to time according as may thought necessary – for a single operation will not be sufficient probably. I am sorry I was unable to talk with you further on this subject & perhaps it may seem to you more satisfactory if you could see me again before you decided upon any future action in the case. You will please let me know what you conclude to do & I will try & accommodate my time so as to avoid all disappointment in the future…”

Portrait of Kimball

Dr. Gilman Kimball

After his medical training in New England and Europe, Gilman held several professorships until he took direction of the Lowell hospital, established by the proprietors of that town’s factories. During the Civil War, Gilman oversaw the organization of the first military hospitals. However, it is for the pioneering advances he made in the field of gynecology that he is remembered. Beginning in the 1870s Gilman treated uterine fibroids with electricity, a procedure called galvanism – a term coined by Alessandro Volta and named for Italian obstetrician and surgeon Luigi Galvani who demonstrated the existence of natural electric current in animal tissue. Gilman served as president of the American Gynecological Society beginning in 1882.

Written on a folded sheet of lined paper. Folded with minimal wear and in fine condition. Rare.

Early Treatment of “Fibroid Disease of the Womb” with Electricity

Signed by Gilman Kimball

$400 • item #22361

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