William S. Halsted and Harvey W. Cushing: reflections on their complex association

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William Stewart Halsted, the father of modern surgery, and Harvey Williams Cushing, the father of neurosurgery, are remembered for their countless innovations and contributions to the discipline of surgery. Between 1896 and 1912, they worked together at Johns Hopkins Hospital making many of their respective achievements possible. In the later years, their complex relationship, somewhat strained during Cushing's residency, grew into a mutual respect and deep appreciation for one another. In this offering, the authors attempt to elucidate the evolution of this complex relationship.

Abbreviation used in this paper: MGH = Massachusetts General Hospital.

Article Information

Address correspondence to: Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, M.D., M.Sc., Indianapolis Neurosurgical Group and Indiana University Department of Neurosurgery, 1801 North Senate Boulevard, Suite 610, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202. email: acohenmd@gmail.com.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



  • View in gallery

    Painting of William Halsted by Thomas Corner, 1932. Courtesy of The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, photo by Aaron Levin.

  • View in gallery

    Rare photo of Halsted's associates and residents commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Johns Hopkins Hospital, October 7, 1914. Halsted is seen in the middle of the first row (sitting) and Cushing is seen third from the left in the second row (standing). Courtesy of Yale Historical Library.

  • View in gallery

    Photograph of Halsted and Cushing operating together. Halsted is seen second from the left bending over the operative field. Cushing is seen third on the right across from Halsted. Courtesy of Yale Historical Library.


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