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Ernest Codman MD (1869-1940) was the prototypical genius surgeon. Graduate of Harvard Medical School in 1895, internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and eventually a member of the surgical staff at Mass General and of the Harvard faculty. His impact was in many fields – shoulder surgery, bone sarcoma, general surgery, anesthesiology, radiology, and evidence-based medicine. In 1910 he helped start the American College of Surgeons, and he also helped form the Committee for Hospital Standardization, the forefather of the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO).
He had it all.
And then one day he stood up during a surgical meeting he had chaired of the Suffolk (Mass.) District Surgical Society to unveil a cartoon he had drawn. He was ostracized, lost referrals, his income plummeted, and had little recognition for the remainder of his life.
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