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Jane Todd Crawford - Graysville, IN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 39° 08.092 W 087° 32.442
16S E 453268 N 4331882
Quick Description: Courage beyond belief, and the first to submit to new surgery
Location: Indiana, United States
Date Posted: 12/20/2014 5:16:46 AM
Waymark Code: WMN3HT
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Manville Possum Hunters
Views: 5

Long Description:

County of grave: Sullivan County
Location of grave: IN 63, Johnson Cemetery, Graysville

Jane Todd Crawford -The First Survivor of Ovarian Surgery

"September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, reports that each year in the United States, over 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. About 15,000 die from it! Unfortunately morality rates for ovarian cancer have not improved in 30 years. I was appalled when I discovered the actual current statistics about this disease. (They follow at the end of this blog.) I began researching this disease because of a grave I found last January in Sullivan County, Indiana for the woman who was the first to survive ovarian surgery.

"It was 1809, when Jane Todd Crawford became concerned about a pregnancy that was long overdue. At the age of 46, and a mother of four, she knew something was wrong and that she needed to get medical attention. When doctors tried to induce labor it was discovered that she was ‘carrying’ a 22-pound cystic tumor. The diagnosis was death.

"Crawford refused to give up. She contacted Dr. Ephraim McDowell of Danville, Kentucky, explaining her condition. McDowell traveled to Green County, Kentucky and diagnosed Crawford as having a large ovarian tumor. He was interested in performing an experimental abdominal surgery that might save her life. But he warned her that so far the surgery had never been performed successfully. Knowing that her condition was fatal, Crawford agreed to allow Dr. McDowell to operate on her.

"It was a harsh December day when she set out on horseback from south of Greensburg to ride to Danville, Kentucky, a journey of 60 miles. McDowell had refused to do the surgery anywhere but at his home where he had all of his equipment.

"The operation took place on Christmas Day, 1809 in McDowell’s living room. The procedure took 25 minutes and was scheduled to take place during church services in order to keep gawkers away. Crawford was given only an oral dose of opium before being cut open. (Anesthesia was not invented yet.) Several attendants held her down while the surgery took place. McDowell removed a twenty-two pound tumor. This was the first successful removal of an ovarian tumor in the world!

"Crawford’s recovery was uneventful. She was able to return home in January of 1810. A few months later the Crawford’s’ sold their land in Kentucky and moved to Indiana.

"McDowell became famous as the pioneer of abdominal surgical techniques. He performed the same operation on two more women. He published his report “Three Cases of Extirpation of Diseased Ovaria” in 1817. He continued practicing medicine until his death from an apparent appendicitis on June 25, 1830. His home in Danville is now a museum and a National Historic Landmark. The Medical Society of Kentucky in Danville erected a statue in his honor in 1879.

"Jane Crawford died in 1842, at the age of 79, at her son’s home in Graysville, Indiana. She was buried in the Johnson Cemetery, near Graysville, Indiana in Sullivan County. In 1871, the Women’s Auxiliary to the Southern Medical Association dedicated a stone for her grave. In 1940, the American Hospital Association placed a granite monument near her grave.

"Not only did Jane Todd Crawford make history as the first woman to survive ovarian surgery, she gave thousands of women hope concerning a disease that is slow, cruel, and still, difficult to survive." ~ A Grave Interest blogspot

From the historical marker at her grave site, erected in 1972 by The Woman's Auxiliary to the Southern Medical Association GRAVE OF JANE TODD CRAWFORD Pioneer Heroine of Abdominal Surgery Jane Todd was born in Virginia in 1763. In 1805 she and her husband, Thomas Crawford, moved to Green County, Ky. Suffering from a huge abdominal tumor, she rode 60 miles to Danville, Ky., to submit to an operation never before performed. On December 25, 1809, Dr. Ephraim McDowell performed this, the first ovariotomy, in his home. The ordeal lasted 25 minutes. There was no anesthesia. Mrs. Crawford recovered completely. Years later she came to Graysville to live with her son, Thomas, a Presbyterian minister. She died in 1842 at age 78. She is buried here. The restored McDowell home in Danville is a surgical shrine.

Date of birth: 12/23/1763

Date of death: 3/30/1842

Area of notoriety: Medicine

Marker Type: Plaque

Setting: Outdoor

Fee required?: No

Web site: [Web Link]

Visiting Hours/Restrictions: Not listed

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