The case of General Wood

Restricted access

✓ The first successful operation ever on a parasagittal meningioma was performed in 1910 by Harvey Cushing. The operation turned out to be a critical event in his career as a neurosurgeon and made him confident about the possibilities of brain surgery. The patient was Leonard Wood, Major General and Chief of Staff of the United States Army, who was a military surgeon turned career officer. In the election campaign for the president to succeed Woodrow Wilson in 1920, Leonard Wood, the personification of competence, became the Republican favorite. General Wood was, however, eliminated from the presidential election campaign by complicated intrigues. From the next year on, General Wood experienced increasing warning signs of a recurrent tumor, which he unfortunately neglected. Not until 1927 did Wood again come under the care of Dr. Cushing, who had just returned from Britain, where in the course of a single month he had been awarded no less than seven distinctions from different medical societies. Deeply concerned at Wood's condition, Cushing decided to attempt extirpation of the recurrent tumor. General Wood died a few hours after the operation. No tragedy caused Cushing more distress than the death of General Wood, who 7 years earlier had been on the verge of being nominated President of the United States.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Bengt Ljunggren, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital, S-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

Headings

Figures

  • View in gallery

    Leonard Wood, Major General and Chief of Staff of the Army. Portrait by John Singer Sargent. (Reproduced from Hagedorn H: Leonard Wood. A Biography. New York/London: Harper & Bros., 1931.)

  • View in gallery

    Theodore Roosevelt (to the left) and General Wood at Plattsburg, New York, in 1915. (Reproduced from Hagedorn H: Leonard Wood. A Biography. New York/London: Harper & Bros, 1931.)

References

1.

Cabot AT: Letter to Harvey Cushing, dated January 14, 1909 in: Leonard Wood. 18601927. Harvey Cushing Collection, Yale Medical Historical LibraryNew Haven, ConnecticutCabot AT: Letter to Harvey Cushing dated January 14 1909 in: Leonard Wood. 1860–1927. Harvey Cushing Collection Yale Medical Historical Library New Haven Connecticut

2.

Cushing H: The meningiomas (dural endotheliomas): their source, and favoured seats of origin. Brain 45:2823161922Cushing H: The meningiomas (dural endotheliomas): their source and favoured seats of origin. Brain 45:282–316 1922

3.

Cushing HEisenhardt L: Meningiomas: Their Classification Regional Behavior Life History and Surgical End Results. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas1938 pp 409414Cushing H Eisenhardt L: Meningiomas: Their Classification Regional Behavior Life History and Surgical End Results. Springfield Ill: Charles C Thomas 1938 pp 409–414

4.

Cushing HEisenhardt L: Notes on first reasonably successful removal of intracranial tumor. Bull Los Angeles Neurol Soc 3:95981938Cushing H Eisenhardt L: Notes on first reasonably successful removal of intracranial tumor. Bull Los Angeles Neurol Soc 3:95–98 1938

5.

Durante F: Contribution to endocranial surgery. Lancet 2:6546551887Durante F: Contribution to endocranial surgery. Lancet 2:654–655 1887

6.

Durante F: Extirpazione di un tumore endocranico. Bull Acad Med Roma 11:2472521885; Buffalo Med Surg J 25: 369 1885–1886 (translation)Durante F: Extirpazione di un tumore endocranico. Bull Acad Med Roma 11:247–252 1885; Buffalo Med Surg J 25:369 1885–1886 (translation)

7.

Fulton JF: Harvey Cushing. A Biography. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas1946711 ppFulton JF: Harvey Cushing. A Biography. Springfield Ill: Charles C Thomas 1946 711 pp

8.

Hagedorn H: Leonard Wood. A Biography. New York/London: Harper and Brothers1931 Vol 1 pp 1436; Vol 2 pp 1–524Hagedorn H: Leonard Wood. A Biography. New York/London: Harper and Brothers 1931 Vol 1 pp 1–436; Vol 2 pp 1–524

9.

Holme JG: The Life of Leonard Wood. New York/Garden City: Doubleday, Page1920 pp 1228Holme JG: The Life of Leonard Wood. New York/Garden City: Doubleday Page 1920 pp 1–228

10.

Jefferson G: Harvey Cushing. April 8, 1869– October 7, 1939. Surg Neurol 2:2172241974(see p 221)Jefferson G: Harvey Cushing. April 8 1869–October 7 1939. Surg Neurol 2:217–224 1974 (see p 221)

11.

Keen WW: Three successful cases of cerebral surgery: including the removal of a large intracranial fibroma. Am J Med Sci 96:3293471888Keen WW: Three successful cases of cerebral surgery: including the removal of a large intracranial fibroma. Am J Med Sci 96:329–347 1888

12.

MacEwen W: Intracranial lesions. III: Tumour of dura mater. Epileptiform convulsions; trephining; removal of tumour from dura mater and orbital cavity; recovery. Lancet 1:40441882(see p 42)MacEwen W: Intracranial lesions. III: Tumour of dura mater. Epileptiform convulsions; trephining; removal of tumour from dura mater and orbital cavity; recovery. Lancet 1:40–44 1882 (see p 42)

13.

Olsson JO: [Tattered Banners. People and Events Around 1919.] Stockholm: Albert Bonniers1975 (Swed)Olsson JO: [Tattered Banners. People and Events Around 1919.] Stockholm: Albert Bonniers 1975 (Swed)

TrendMD

Metrics

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 30 30 12
Full Text Views 144 144 17
PDF Downloads 86 86 6
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0

PubMed

Google Scholar