The Surgeon Rat


This is a change of pace from some of my other posts. 

Rats make for  smart, playful, small pets

Source Getty Images

Daily Intelligencer, Sept. 26, 1863 — page 1 Surgeon Rat.

        Our neighbor of the Petersburg Express is responsible for the following: We have heard and read a great many stories about the rat, but in all our experience, we have never before had one brought before us in the character of a surgeon. We learn that one of our large hospitals a night or two since, an operation was successfully performed upon an invalid soldier by a common rat, which the surgeon in charge had himself delayed for a time, with the hope of causing less suffering to the patient. The patient was suffering from the effect of a fracture of the frontal bones of the skull – a piece of which projected outwards to some length, and the healing of the fleshy parts depended on its removal. The bone was so firmly fixed, however, as, in the opinion of the surgeon, would cause unnecessary pain in its forcible removal, and such remedies were applied as would assist nature in eventually ejecting it. A soothing poultice was placed on apart a night or two ago, a hole being made through the application for the insertion of the projecting bone,-The patient was soon asleep in his bead; but during the night was aroused by a sting of pain, and awoke to discover the rat making off with the piece of bone in his mouth. He struck at and hit the rat, but did not hurt him. The rat had probably been drawn to the bed of the soldier by the scent of the poultice, which was pleasant to his olfactories: but upon reaching it, his keen appetite, no doubt, caused him to relish in a large degree the juicy bone so convenient to his teeth. He therefore seized and drew it from its position, and was made to scamper off by the patient whom he had aroused with pain. It was a skillful operation, quickly performed, and will result beneficially to the invalid. We understand the patient is getting on remarkably well.


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