Talk:J. Marion Sims

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Untitled[edit]

I seriously doubt that he practiced his techniques on white women. Black slave women, against their consent, were used as a "mule" for Sims to perform his treacherous and painful trial and error procedures! What ashame! Although, undoubtedly, he has improved our gynecological technology, we should still bring light to the fact that these black slaves were critically harmed and that Sims, like most white people during that time...and now,....were and are RACIST!

- Coco (NY) 4/23/07 P.S. Read the book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrom written by Joy DeGruy Leary, Ph.D.

"Sims refused to provide anesthesia..." There was no anesthesia available during this time period for Sims to use. Opium and alcohol or a quick jab to the jaw to knock someone out was about it. He couldn't very well "refuse to provide" what he did not have. Some accounts indicate he did use opium, but even it was a very poor pain killer. As for the slaves, Betsy (the first of 3 slaves Sims routinely used to develop his surgical techniques) suffered a horrible fistula after childbirth that Sims attempted to repair many times.

Fistulas are painful and disgusting. According to the Fistula Foundation:

"The tissues die and a hole forms through which urine and/or feces pass uncontrollably. Women who develop fistulas are often abandoned by their husbands, rejected by their communities, and forced to live an isolated existence."

No one likes the thought of undergoing surgery without some form of anesthesia. No one. But, in this case, Betsy was living a miserable life as an outcast who passed urine/feces uncontrollably and stunk all the time. Sims believed he could improve her life if he could only repair the fistula. Anesthesia had not been invented yet and Sims used what he could to help her with the pain.

Because of Betsy (and the other 2 women), surgical instruments and sutures were discovered that advanced gynecological medicine considerably. Betsy was not a victim of needless, brutal surgery. She was a courageous heroine who desperately wanted her fistula repaired. Eventually, it was.

According to J. Marion Sims' own autobiograpy, he performed brutal surgery on slaves -- and white women. Death occurred with both whites and blacks under his surgical care. While his history in advancing medicine was distinctly at a much higher cost to black women -- no one I know disputes this --, this wikipedia entry on Sims is written in a highly incendiary manner and distinctly slanted.

I would think that the current version is more correct in terms of the anesthesia issue. First of all, fistulas are a dreadful condition, people with it are ostracized, so even surgery without anesthesia may eventually become an option if there are no alternatives; second, anesthesia was just entering medial use when he was doing his experimental surgery - I see no evidence that he "refused" its application; third, we all owe gratitude to his early patients. Ekem 00:13, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

"There was no anesthesia available during this time period for Sims to use." FALSE. Ether was already on the scene. Also, keep in mind that while Sims' position was that the operations were consensual, the agreement was between Sims and the SLAVE OWNERS, not between Sims and the women. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.173.64.23 (talk) 18:14, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

I would check American Scientist- I believe there was an article in there about Marion Sims where they had documented an actual conversation that he had with an assistant, telling him that painkillers were not necessary. I think there was a painkiller, and that he refused to use it because he did not believe that enslaved people were human enough to need it. Piratescat 13:52, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Hello, I am concerned that the last section of this article is emotive and without references. I have read other slants on this story, such as "The medical ethics of Dr J Marion Sims: a fresh look at the historical record" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2563360/ I think it is important in a wikipedia article to acknowledge all the facts, and various views on the facts - the last couple of paragraphs are unsubstantiated and a personal opinion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SarahStewart (talkcontribs) 21:28, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

You are correct; the section to which you refer was added inappropriately (although some the content therein could certainly be incorporated into the rest of the article). I will add the "Fresh Look" article as an external link. DS (talk) 12:42, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Phrasing of women captives / slaves[edit]

I am going to revert the replacement of "used" with "subjected women who were held captive as". The sense is already conveyed, I'm really not sure what this adds. Of course, I'm happy to discuss it. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:33, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

critics[edit]

His "supporters" respond [1] more work to be done J8079s (talk) 23:35, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

That's from 2006, and I think the article already addresses most of those points. But thanks anyway. DS (talk) 12:40, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Correction: First U.S. open heart surgery?[edit]

J. Marion Sims was not the first. Henry Dalton performed a pericardial surgery in 1891. Daniel Hale Williams performed one in 1893. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.55.129.48 (talk) 04:31, 21 October 2013 (UTC)Avwalker12 (talk) 04:42, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Delete reference to building[edit]

Delete reference in caption to building being used for later open heart surgery; not relevant to this article and not an innate characteristic of the buildingParkwells (talk) 22:37, 4 November 2013 (UTC).

Delete Memorial Hospital[edit]

According to the article on Memorial-Sloan Kettering Hospital Center, it was founded in 1884, after Sims died. It says nothing about him, so deleted sentence about connection between his last hospital and this one. The statement was not sourced. Parkwells (talk) 00:18, 5 November 2013 (UTC)