¨Father of human digestion¨
The musket wound.
Bigger than the size of a man´s palm.
Alexis St. Martin
Was ¨accidently¨ shot in the side with a musket during cleaning.
William was born November 21, 1785. He died on April 25, 1853.
Life before the accident.
His parents had come from England to the American colonies. He was the second born out of nine kids in Lebanon, Connecticut. William was inspired by his schoolmaster to be in the medical field. In 1807, he left for Champlain, New York and became a schoolmaster (teacher). He was also the secretary for the local debating society. He started his medical career by starting an apprenticeship with Dr. Benjamin Chandler and Dr. Truman Powell in Vermont in 1812.
The Rise to Fame
He was a surgeon´s mate in the U.S. army. He left after the war was over in June, 1815 but went back in 1819. A case came to him that was never seen before. It was a man named Alexis St. Martin. He had a musket wound in his side that was the size of a man´s palm. That is when William decided to start his observation on human digestion as it happens in the stomach. They thought the research was over.
St. Martin returned in 1829 and they continued their research through early 1829 to late 1830. St. Martin picked up his family and left for Canada in 1831. In 1832, William went to Canada and found Alexis for the third time and finished the remainder of their experiments. William wrote a book about his encounters with Alexis St. Martin in 1833.
What You Didn´t Know
- William came to his last army post in 1834 in St. Louis, Missouri and retired afterwards.
- Alexis St. Martin lived for 58 years after the accident.
- St. Martin´s family hid his body in a rock covered grave after his death so that no other scientist would be able to perform an autopsy.