Oscar Allis was born September 9, 1836, in Holley, New York, a direct descendant of a Puritan settler with the First Salem, Massachusetts, colony. He attended Lafayette College and received a Master of Arts degree in 1864. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1866. Following an internship at the Philadelphia General Hospital, he ultimately became one of the original surgeons of the Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia.
Allis developed a particular interest in orthopedic surgery, and was a recognized authority on fractures and dislocations. In 1895 he received the Gross prize of $1000 for his monograph on reduction of hip dislocations. Relaxation of the fascia between the iliac crest and the greater trochanter, a sign of fracture of the neck of the femur, is Allis' sign.
Among his many valuable contributions to surgery were his dissector, the ether inhaler, and the splint—all were named for him. Today, the Allis forceps continues to be one of the standard instruments in any general surgical kit. The paper through which this instrument was introduced is reproduced here. Like so many articles that contribute to our heritage in this Classics series, the subject is anastomotic technique as it developed in those early days.
Allis died May 16, 1921, of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 84.
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Allis OH. Intestinal anastomosis with suturing of the entire thickness of the intestinal wall: method and instruments. Am J Obstet Dis Women Children 1902:60–66.
Biography—Kelly HA, Burrage WL. Dictionary of American medical biography. Boston: Milford House, 1971.
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Allis, O.H., McReynolds, R.P. Oscar Huntington Allis. Dis Colon Rectum 29, 776–779 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02555334