Ann Thorac Surg 1986;41:692-699
© 1986 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Samuel Robinson, Pioneer Thoracic Surgeon (1875-1947)
J. Gordon Scannell, M.D.*
Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
* Address reprint requests to Dr. Scannell, Ambulatory Care Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114
Sam Robinson was born in Augusta, ME, in 1875. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, and of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), he worked in the laboratory of Walter Cannon. While a junior at MGH he spent four months abroad with Ferdinand Sauerbruch. He returned to Boston and remained there until 1912, performing his first successful lobectomy for bronchiectasis in 1909. He made important contributions to the management of pneumothorax during operation, notably Sam Robinson's box. In 1912 he moved to Clifton Springs, NY. From 1915 to 1917 he was the first Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Illness, probably bronchiectasis, led him to abandon academic thoracic surgery in 1918 and retire to Santa Barbara, CA, where he practiced general surgery until 1947. He was President of the Association for Thoracic Surgery in 1922. In addition to the use of positive pressure and early resections, his contributions include artificial pneumothorax for tuberculosis and management of acute and chronic empyema. His colorful writings provide a vivid picture of the early days of our specialty.
- Robinson S: Harvard College, Class of 1898. IV Report, 1923.
- Robinson S. The surgery of bronchiectasis, including a report of five complete resections of the lower lobe of the lung with one death Surg Gynecol Obstet 1917;23:194.
- Robinson S. The present and future in thoracic surgery Arch Surg 1923;6:247.
- Robinson S. The resection of lobes of the lung JAMA 1917;69:355.
- Robinson S. Bronchiectasis and abscess of the lung Boston Med Surg J 1911;165:398.
- Robinson S. The surgical aspects of bronchiectasis Trans Am Surg Assoc 1914;34:688.
- Robinson S: Harvard College Class of 1898. III Report, 1913.
- Robinson S. Artificial intrapulmonary positive pressure JAMA 1908;51:803.
- Sauerbruch F, Robinson S. Investigations concerning the technique of lung resection with the application of both forms of differential pressure Ann Surg 1910;1:320.
- Sauerbruch F. Present status of surgery of the thorax JAMA 1908;51:808.
- Robinson S. A positive pressure cabinet for thoracic surgery Surg Gynecol Obstet 1910;10:287.
- Scannell JG. Sam Robinson's Box Harv Med Alumni Bull 1984;58:46.
- Robinson S. An apparatus for thoracic surgery under intratracheal insufflation or positive pressure Surg Gynecol Obstet 1912;14:462.
- Robinson S, Floyd C. Artificial pneumothorax as a treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis Trans Am Climatol Assoc 1911;27:289.[Medline]
- Robinson S. Acute thoracic empyema. Avoidance of chronic empyema. Rib trephining for suction drainage Boston Med Surg J 1910;163:561.
- Robinson S. Treatment of chronic non-tuberculous empyema Surg Gynecol Obstet 1916;22:557.
- Robinson S. Carcinoma of the colon, not including the rectum Calif West Med 1926;25:58.
Miscellaneous Works of Samuel Robinson
18. Robinson S. A case of acute intestinal obstruction following recent laparotomy Surg Clin N Am 1931;11:1133.
Robinson and Leland, 1909. Robinson S, Leland GA. Surgery of the lungs under positive and negative pressure Surg Gynecol Obstet 1909;8:255.
Robinson, 1910. Robinson S. Medical progress. Thoracic surgery Boston Med Surg J 1910;163:875.
Brewster and Robinson, 1911. Brewster GWW, Robinson S. Operative treatment of wounds of the heart Ann Surg 1911;3:324.
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