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“Iowa Leading the Way: Dr. Ralph Waters and the First Ambulatory Surgery Center”

The public is invited to a University of Iowa History of Medicine talk on “Iowa Leading the Way: Dr. Ralph Waters and the First Ambulatory Surgery Center” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 27, in Room 401 of the UI Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

The speaker will be Douglas Merrill, Medical Director, Ambulatory Surgery at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Light refreshments will be served. The lecture is part of a series of presentations sponsored by the UI History of Medicine Society.

Merrill will discuss the life and career of Dr. Ralph Waters, who established the world’s first outpatient surgical center in Sioux City, Iowa in 1918. It was the start of a career that would see him invent anesthesia delivery systems whose ilk are still in use today, and to become a founding father of academic anesthesiology in the United States.

While outpatient surgery centers are commonplace today, they were unknown until Waters (“The Wizard of Gilman Terrace”) saw the opportunity to combine his professional qualifications as an anesthesiologist with those of local dentists and surgeons. In doing so, he helped establish anesthesiology as a medical specialty.

Merrill will also speak on the nature of anesthesia and surgery during the early decades of the twentieth century and Water’s later career as the head of the first full-time university department of anesthesia at the University of Wisconsin.