John Rhea Barton

John Rhea BARTON

John Rhea Barton (1794 – 1871) was an American Orthopedic Surgeon.

Eponymously associated with Barton fracture. Considered a pioneer of modern osteotomies. Recorded to have performed an intertrochanteric osteotomy, without anaesthesia, in only seven minutes.

Talented ambidextrous surgeon. Performed first hip arthroplasty in 1826 – Pennsylania Hospital, Philadelphia. His widow endowed the first surgical chair in the United States, the John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Biography

  • Born April 1794, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • 1813 – Appointed as an apprentice to Philip Syng Physick, known as ‘The Father of American Surgery
  • 1818 – Graduated from medical training at Pennsylvania Hospital
  • 1820 – Surgeon at Philadelphia Almshouse
  • 1823 – Surgeon at Pennsylvania Hospital
  • 1838 – First described the Barton fracture
  • Died January 1 1871, Philadelphia

Medical Eponyms

Key Medical Attributions

  • Barton is best appreciated as the pioneer of corrective osteotomy for joint ankylosis
  • 1824 – First account published in America of an operation for imperforate anus
  • 1826 – Performed first subtrochanteric osteotomy on an ankylosed hip
  • 1827 – Performed a femoral osteotomy between the greater and lesser trochanters to secure motion in an ankylosed hip. This was hailed the first successful arthroplasty.
  • 1834 – Wired a fractured patella in the same year as Lister
  • 1839 – First account published in America regarding the use of a seton to ‘cure’ a recto-vaginal fistula.

Controversies

  • In the original description, Barton discussed the posterior marginal fracture only.
  • Barton was criticized by Joseph François Malgaigne (1806-1865) in 1859, and later Lewis Atterbury Stimson (1844-1917) in 1883, for not using autopsy specimens. They hypothesised that Barton had most likely observed Colles-type fractures and paid tribute to Lenoir, a member of Dupuytren’s study group, who demonstrated this fracture type during autopsy.

Major Publications

References

  • Hayes Agnew D. Biographical sketch of Dr John Rhea Barton Delivered at the Academy of Music at the annual commencement of the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, 1878
  • Jupiter JB, Fernandez DL. Comparative classification for fractures of the distal end of the radius. J Hand Surg Am. 1997 Jul;22(4):563-71. [PMID 9260608]
  • Fernandez DL, Jupiter JB. The Fracture of the Distal End of the Radius: An Historical Perspective. In: Fractures of the Distal Radius: A Practical Approach to Management. Springer. 2002:1-21
  • Di Matteo B. John Rhea Barton: the birth of osteotomy. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2013 Sep;21(9):1957-62. doi: 10.1007/s00167-013-2387-1. Epub 2013 Jan 19. [PMID 23334626]
  • Hernigou P. Earliest times before hip arthroplasty: from John Rhea Barton to Themistocles Glück. Int Orthop. 2013 Nov; 37(11): 2313–2318.. [PMC 3824904]
  • Malgaigne J. A Treatise on Fractures. [Translated by John Packard] Philadelphia: Lippincott. 1859:53
  • Stimson LA. A Treatise on Fractures. Philadelphia: H.C. Lea. 1883:453

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eponym

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