George Washington Crile

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
George Washington Crile
Portrait of George Washington Crile.jpg
George Washington Crile
BornNovember 11, 1864
Chili, Ohio
DiedJanuary 7, 1943(1943-01-07) (aged 78)
Resting placeLake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materWooster Medical College; Ohio Northern University now part of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Known forCo-founding the Cleveland Clinic
Scientific career

George Washington Crile (November 11, 1864 in Chili, Ohio – January 7, 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio) was an American surgeon. Crile is now formally recognized as the first surgeon to have succeeded in a direct blood transfusion.[1] He contributed to other procedures, such as neck dissection. Crile designed a small hemostatic forceps which bears his name; the Crile mosquito clamp. He also described a technique for using opioids, regional anesthesia and general anesthesia which is a concept known as balanced anesthesia. He is also known for co-founding the Cleveland Clinic in 1921.


Crile graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1885,[2] and in 1887 received his M.D. from Wooster Medical College which merged to form modern day Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.[3][4][5] He did further study at Vienna, London and Paris. He taught at Wooster from 1889 to 1900. He was professor of clinical medicine at Western Reserve University from 1900 to 1911, and was then made professor of surgery.[2] He was chair of surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center from 1910 to 1924,[6] and established its Lakeside Hospital.[6]

During the Spanish– American War, he was made a member of the Medical Reserve Corps and served in Puerto Rico (1898). He was made an honorable F.R.C.S. (London) in 1913. After America entered World War I, he became a major in the medical O.T.C., and professional director (1917–18). He served with the B.E.F. in France and was senior consultant in surgical research (1918–19). He was made lieutenant-colonel in June 1918, and colonel later in the year.[2]

He made important contributions to the study of blood pressure and of shock in operations. Realizing that any strong emotion, such as fear before operation, produced shock, he attempted to allay dread by psychic suggestion, also endeavouring to prevent the subjective shock which affects the patient, even when under general anaesthesia, by first anaesthetizing the operative region with cocaine for several days, if necessary, before operating. Thus nerve communication between the affected part and the brain was already obstructed when the general anaesthetic was administered. For his work in shockless surgery he received a gold medal from the National Institute of Social Sciences in 1914.[2]

Crile is the author of A Mechanistic View of War and Peace, published in 1917.[7] He also wrote Surgical Shock (1897), On the Blood Pressure in Surgery (1903), Hemorrhage and Transfusion (1909), Surgical Anemia and Resuscitation (1914), The Origin and Nature of the Emotions (1915), Man an Adaptive Mechanism (1916), The Fallacy of the German State Philosophy (1918),[2] The Surgical Treatment of Hypertension (1938)

In World War II, the United States liberty ship SS George Crile was named in his honor. The lunar crater Crile is also named after him. He is buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.[8]

His son George Crile, Jr. was also a surgeon. His grandson George Crile III was a journalist, author, and CBS producer. His wife, Grace Elizabeth (McBride) Crile (1876–1948), was a descendant of Lydia (Reed) McBride, sister of David Reed.


  1. ^ Grunfeld GB, George Crile performs the first direct blood transfusion. In Great Events from History: Science and Technology II edited by Frank N. Magill (Pasadena, CA: Salem Press 1991, pp. 275-9).
  2. ^ a b c d e Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Crile, George Washington" . Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York.
  3. ^ "Cleveland Heights Historical Society - People". 1958-11-25. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  4. ^ [1] Archived September 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Case Western Reserve University". Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  6. ^ a b [2] Archived September 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Crile, George W.,. A Mechanistic View of War and Peace. Toronto, Canada: The MacMillan Company, 1917
  8. ^ Vigil, Vicki Blum (2007). Cemeteries of Northeast Ohio: Stones, Symbols & Stories. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59851-025-6


External links[edit]