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Surgery in the "Olden Days"--Not for the Faint of Heart!


Join Peter Rosenberg on Tuesday, Feb 14, at 1 pm as he leads us through the history of surgery from its beginnings. The author of The Century of the Surgeon, Jurgen Thorwald, characterizes surgical procedures before 1846 this way: “Everything that went before was but a night of ignorance, of torture, and of fruitless wandering in the dark.” The hero of Thorwald's novel, Dr. Hartmann, not only witnessed the delivery of ether anesthesia but follows the discovery of sepsis, bacteria, the discovery of forceps and other surgical instruments, antiseptic surgery, the removal of gall stones and the appendix, and the development of X-rays. This is a wild but true tale that includes heroes and villains.


Our presenter, Peter Rosenberg, was born and bred in Poughkeepsie, New York. He is a graduate of Poughkeepsie High School in 1957, Princeton University, in 1961, and Tufts Medical School in 1965. After two years of Surgical Residency, he trained in Otolaryngology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and became Chief of ENT at Fort Bragg. Following thirty-one years of practice in Norwich, Connecticut Peter moved to Maine to practice Otolaryngology at Togus VA Medical Center for a decade. His motto is “Why do one thing well when I can do a bunch of things poorly?” As an example of this, since joining the UMA Senior College in 2005, he has taught courses or lectured on magic for grandparents, the history of medicine, classical music librettists of the 20th century, opera, playing cards, and a few other topics.


The UMASC Winter Lecture Series is free and open to all, so feel free to invite friends and family members! But you must register in order to attend.

All lectures will be presented via Zoom.


When you select this series, you may attend as many lectures as you please.

Each week, prior to the lecture, you will receive an email with your Zoom invitation.

Lectures are offered on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm, plus one additional lecture on Thursday, March 2, at 1:00 pm. Click here to see more information about each lecture and the presenters. Tuesday, Feb. 14 The Century of the Surgeon with Peter Rosenberg Tuesday, Feb. 21 Wandering Around Maine with Elizabeth Reinsborough Tuesday, Feb. 28 Journey to Newfoundland (part 1) with Cheryl & Louis Fontaine Thursday, Mar. 2 Journey to Newfoundland (part 2) with Cheryl & Louis Fontaine Tuesday, Mar. 7 Maine’s Angel of Bataan with Walter MacDougall


How to register for classes:

Click on the following link to the Winter Lecture Series page.

Click on the blue “Add to Cart” button.

Next, click on the blue “View Cart” button.

Ignore the part about adding membership and go to the bottom of the page. Then, click on the blue “Proceed to Checkout” button.

Fill in the required information.

You will notice a box under “Additional Information.” Write the name of your senior college here (if you are a senior college member).

Click on “Place Order.”

You are registered! You will receive an email confirming your registration. Just ignore the page that comes up requesting payment.

For more information, call the UMASC office: 207-621-3551 or email: office@umasc.org. Emails often receive the quickest response because they are instantly distributed to the staff at home.


Photo: Public Domain: Operating theater at Boston City Hospital by Augustine H. Folsom, c. 1890. Harvard Medical Library


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