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William Beaumont

Born: 21-Nov-1785
Birthplace: Lebanon, CT
Died: 25-Apr-1853
Location of death: St Louis, MO
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Observed human digestion

Military service: US Army (1812-15 and 1819-40)

William Beaumont spent two years as a physician's apprentice, which was enough to qualify him for a license to practice medicine. He had a private practice for a few years, but spent most of his medical career in the Army. While posted at Fort Mackinac, on Mackinac Island in Michigan's Lake Huron, Beaumont's surgical skill saved the life of Alexis St Martin, a French-Canadian trapper who had been shot in the gut. The patient fully recovered, but the wound never closed, leaving St Martin an otherwise healthy man with an open gastric fistula -- a hole in his stomach, about the size of a man's finger.

After convincing St Martin to allow him to peer into his stomach, Baumont conducted numerous experiments, including dropping different foods tied to string through the hole into St Martin's stomach, then pulling the string hours later to remove the food, and observing how digestion had advanced. Beaumont's studies added greatly to the scientific understanding of digestion and the nature of gastric juices. He is the namesake of Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI, and the Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, TX.

Father: Samuel Beaumont (farmer, b. 1755, d. 1814)
Mother: Lucretia Abel Beaumont ("Laura")
Brother: Samuel Beaumont (b. circa 1781, d. 1813)
Sister: Lucretia Beaumont (b. 1783, d. 1867)
Sister: Anne Beaumont (b. circa 1784, d. 1877)
Sister: Abel Beaumont (physician, b. circa 1786, d. 1832)
Sister: Lucy Beaumont Segar (b. 1787, d. 1861)
Sister: Abigail Beaumont (b. circa 1790, d. 1823)
Sister: Mary Beaumont (b. 1796, d. 1875)
Brother: John Beaumont (carpenter, b. circa 1797, d. 1886)
Wife: Deborah Green Platt Beaumont (b. 1787, m. 28-Aug-1821, d. 1871)
Daughter: Sarah Beaumont Irwin Keim (b. 1822, d. 1913)
Son: William W. Beaumont (b. 1824, d. 1826)
Daughter: Lucretia Beaumont Canfield (b. 1827, d. 1850)
Son: Israel Beaumont (b. 1829, d. 1901)

    Professor: Surgery, St. Louis University (1837-53)

    English Ancestry

Author of books:
Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion (1833)

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