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William Stewart Halsted Edit Profile


American surgeon who pioneered in the development of clinical techniques and tools and in surgical training.He was a staff member at various New York hospitals from 1881 to 1887.While still a student, Halsted developed his continuing interest in anatomical dissection, studies of asepsis (exclusion of disease-producing organisms), and application of experimental methods to clinical problems.


Halsted, William Stewart was born on September 23, 1852 in New York, United States. Son of William Mills, Junior and Mary Louisa (Haines) Halsted.


Halsted was educated at home by tutors until the age of ten, when he was sent to boarding school in Monson, Massachusetts. He didn't like his new school and even ran away at one point. He was then sent to Andover where he graduated in 1869.

At Yale, Halsted excelled in athletics. He was captain of the football team, played baseball and rowed crew.


Attending physical, Charity Hospital, New York, 1881-1883. Attending surgeon, Bellevue and Presbyterian hospitals, 1885-1887. Associate surgeon, Roosevelt Hospital and surgeon-in-chief, Out-Patient Department, 1881-1887.

Surgeon-in-chief Emigrant Hospital, New York, 1881-1884, and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, since 1889.

In 1889 he became surgeon in chief of the newly opened Johns Hopkins Hospital and in 1893 professor of surgery and founder of the department of surgery and the residency training program at Johns Hopkins University.In 1884 he made the enormously significant introduction of nerveblocking or regional anesthesia, using cocaine by injection.


  • In 1881 he achieved probably the first successful blood transfusion in the United States, giving his own blood to his sister, who was hemorrhaging after childbirth. In the early 1890's he used metal screws and plates for bone fractures.


  • writing

    • The Operative Story of Goitre (1920); Surgical Papers by William S. Halsted (1924)


Fellow of American Surgical Association, American College Surgeons (honorary), American Society Experimental Pathology.


  • Other Interests



Married Caroline Hampton, June 4, 1890.

William Mills Halsted

Caroline Hampton

Despite his lifelong concern with biliary tract surgery--at the age of 32 he had relieved his own dangerously ill mother by drainage of an infected gall bladder

Caroline Hampton