✓ During Eldridge Campbell's tour of duty as the neurosurgical consultant to the Mediterranean theater of World War II operations, he was introduced to a then-revolutionary method of wound treatment. Ironically, Campbell's diligent research efforts later revealed that this method of wound treatment had first been advocated seven centuries earlier—in the same geographical location—by the Italian surgeon Theodoric. Although controversial, this method of wound care was subsequently applied and supported by Theodoric's outspoken pupil, Henri de Mondeville, despite intense opposition from the prevailing medical authorities who supported the doctrine of “laudable pus” for wound management. With Mondeville's death, Theodoric's technique lapsed into obscurity, relegated to a historical footnote until modern biology and the discoveries of Lister and Pasteur would again bring to light the benefits of nonsuppurative wound treatment.
In this article the author discusses the work of Theodoric, Mondeville, and Campbell in light of the medical climate of their times and explores the contemporary parallels noted by Campbell in terms of the neglect of other, more recent medical discoveries. These examples encourage us to accept or reject medical treatments based on a thorough examination of their efficacy and not on the stature of their advocates within the medical community.