OB/Gyn History: Important Firsts
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1500 First reported successful Cesarean section (mother and child surviving). Jacob Nufer
1701 First successful ovariotomy. Robert Houstoun
1795 Pueperal sepsis first proposed to be due to infectious contagion as a result of observational, epidemiologic study in Aberdeen, Scotland. Alexander Gordon
1809 First ovarian cystectomy (Danville, Kentucky). Ephraim McDowell
1812 First recorded vaginal hysterectomy (performed accidentally and unplanned). Palletta
1813 First modern, documented total vaginal hysterectomy (though certainly not the first). C.J.M. Langenbeck
1825 First ever blood transfusion, performed for postpartum hemorrhage. James Blundell
1827 Fetal heart tone auscultated for the first time. John Creery Ferguson
1833 First detailed account of fetal heart tones made. Evory Kennedy
1843 First abdominal hysterectomy (the patient died). Charles Clay
1847 Puerperal fever shown to be caused by infectious contagion through interventional trial proving that it could be prevented. Ignaz Semmelweis
1849 Vesicovaginal fistula successfully treated with surgery. J. Marion Sims
June, 1853 First successful adbominal hysterectomy (Lowell, Massachusetts) Walter Burnham
Sept., 1853 First successful, planned abdominal hysterectomy (Lowell, Massachusetts) Gilman Kimbell
1866 First human artificial insemination. J. Marion Sims
1869 First operative hysteroscopy performed. D. Commander Pantaleoni
1872 First oopherectomy for sepsis. Robert Lawson Tait
1872 First bilateral oopherectomy for menorrhagia. Robert Lawson Tait
1876 First successful Cesarean-Hysterectomy. Edoardo Porro
1878 First cholecystotomy (patient died). J. Marion Sims
1879 First successful cholecystotomy. Robert Lawson Tait
1880 First removal of hydatid cust. Robert Lawson Tait
1880 First appendectomy for acute appendicitis. Robert Lawson Tait
1882 Classical Cesarean Section technique (including closing myotomy) first described. Max Sänger
1883 First successful salpingectomy for ectopic pregnancy. Robert Lawson Tait
1890 First successful series of vaginal cesarean sections reported. Alfred Duhrssen
1898 First successful radical abdominal hysterectomy for cervical cancer. Ernst Wertheim
1900 Transverse skin and fascial incision reported. Hermann Pfannenstiel (Gyn.)
1900 Spinal anesthesia first used in labor. Oskar Kreis (Ob.)
1901 Epidural anesthesia first used in labor. Walter Stoeckel (Ob.)
1901 First successful laparascopy performed (through incision in vaginal fornix). Dimitri Oh (Gyn.)
1921 Lower uterine segment incision for cesarean section shown to be superior. John Martin Munro Kerr
1936 Sulphonamides first used to treat puerperal fever in Queen Charlotte's Hospital. Leonard Colebrook
1941 First screening test for cancer introduced (for cervical cancer). Geroge Nicholas Papanicolau
1942 Penicillin first used successfully in a human patient, Anne Miller, to treat septic abortion. Orvan Hess (Ob.)
1943 Clinical efficacy and pharmicokinetics of Penicillin established (originally for treatment of syphilis). Wallace E. Herrell
1944 Modern laparascopy technique introduced (insufflation, Trendelenburg position, etc.). Raoul Palmer (Gyn.)
1953 Oxytocin synthesized (the first posterior pituitary hormone synthesized) Vincent du Vigneaud
1958 Ultrasound developed (originally for obstetric use). Ian Donald
1958 First solid tumor cured by chemotherapy (choriocarcinoma, methotrexate). Hertz and Li
1960 Automatic insufflator invented for laparascopy. Kurst Semm (Gyn.)
1978 In vitro fertilization first performed successfully. Patrick Christopher Steptoe
1987 First laparascopic cholecystectomy performed (during a gynecologic laparascopy). Philippe Mouret

The Historic Reduction in Maternal/Perinatal Mortality