Extirpation of the coccyx

The Lancet

Nov 05, 1870, Vol. 96, No. 2462, p 654

J. C. Nott

Sir, In the October number, 1870 (American reprint), of The Lancet, you publish a letter from Mr. Lawson Tait, in which he takes from me the credit of having preceded Sir Jas. Simpson in the operation of extirpation of the coccyx for coccydinia, and says: - "It is more than eight years since I assisted Sir James Simpson to extirpate the bones in an inveterate coccydinia, for which repeated subcutaneous incisions had been made," &c.

In the May number of the New Orleans Medical Journal, 1844, twenty-six years ago, was published my first case. About a year after I published a second case. The two specimens were presented to Dr. Meigs, of Philadelphia, who alluded to my cases every year afterwards, till he resigned his chair, in his lectures in the Jefferson Medical College.

I have never taken any trouble to establish my priority. Dr. T. G. Thomas very kindly alluded to the facts in his work " On Diseases of Females"; and I should not now trouble you with a word on the subject were it not for the fact that those who do not know me might think it involved a question of veracity on my part.

I fear that the writer speaks with too much confidence as to the benefits arising either from the extirpation of the coccyx or subcutaneous division of its attachments. These operations have been found not infrequently to fail, in the hands of others as well as myself. I have seen several cases of failure which had been operated upon by Sir James Simpson.

I will not take up more space with remarks I might make on the class of cases to which these operations are peculiarly applicable.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,

New York, Oct. 17th, 1870. J. C. Nott, M.D.

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