The Western Lancet.
Trenor, Eustace, A.M., M.D., and
Babcock, Heman, P., M.D., editors.
San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft and Company. 1872.
Vol. I., February [issue 2], pp. 85-90.
Ill.: mounted albumen, on heavy stock.
Photographer: unknown, probably Bradley and Rulofson.
It [ovariotomy] is regarded by the majority of surgeons of this city as an operation which should not be attempted in San Francisco, basing their opinions on the few cases which have been operated upon here, and considering that the proportion of failures are due to an indefinable something in the atmosphere.
Dr. Andrei estimated the weight of the tumor to be 30 pounds and measured 52 inches in the waist of the poor woman who suffered at the hands of quacks and mendicants before begging the care of a "regular" physician. Still a frontier town in 1872, San Francisco attracted opportunists from as far away as Germany where medical diplomas were freely sold to the less capable who wished to emigrate and set up shop in America. It was said of Californians at the time that whoever was not a judge was instead a doctor and much of the editorial writing in the Western Lancet addresses the political and medical problems caused by the "irregulars," the homeopaths and the soi-disant miracle healers who outnumbered San Francisco's classically trained physicians. If his patient had not been misdiagnosed, Dr. Andrei maintains, if she had not trusted the nostrums of a charlatan for many months while the tumor grew within, her prospects would have been favorable and no worse than those of the European woman who benefited from "...the skillful consecutive treatment which those ornaments of English surgery, Spencer Wells and Baker Brown, bring to bear on this operation." One might add the name of Dr. Eugene Koeberle who introduced the procedure to France in the early 1860's.