1959 4¢ Dr. Ephraim McDowell
Issue Date: December 3, 1959
City: Danville, Kentucky
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10 ½ x 11
Color: Rose lake
U.S. #1138 commemorates the 150th anniversary of Dr. Ephraim McDowell’s first successful operation of an ovarian tumor. In 1809, McDowell performed the operation on Jane Crawford in Danville, Kentucky. Other doctors had diagnosed her as being “beyond-term pregnant” – meaning they thought she was pregnant beyond the normal time period of 40 weeks.
Upon examination, McDowell determined that Crawford had a tumor. He told her that an operation of this kind had never been performed before, and that it was considered impossible. She chose to proceed. In a 25-minute operation, Crawford successfully removed a tumor weighing over 22 pounds – without the use of anesthetics (which had not yet been discovered). Crawford lived for another 32 years.