V101 No 4 BULLETIN American College of Surgeons
FROM THE ARCHIVES
life. Nevertheless, he retained a fundamentally
positive, intellectually curious outlook.
His reading was legendary, and Dr. Matas’
home was said to resemble a library. He also
was a renowned cinephile, advocating film as a
means of surgical training as early as 1912.5
One of the famous episodes in Dr. Matas’ life
was the “secret operation” performed by his close
friend William S. Halsted, MD, FACS. This event
took place at Dr. Halsted’s home in Baltimore,
MD, in the fall of 1903. Neither man ever divulged
this procedure during his life, nor even the nature
of it in their private correspondence. It was
only after Dr. Matas’ death that he was noted at
autopsy to have undergone a right orchiectomy. 6
Rudolph Matas died September 23, 1957,
at age 97. He left his estate to the Tulane
University School of Medicine. ♦
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3. Matas R. Traumatic aneurysm of the left brachial artery.
Med News Phil. 1888;53:462-466.
4. Hutson L, Vachon C. Dr. Rudolph Matas: Innovator and
pioneer in anesthesiology. Anesthesiology. 2005;103( 10):885-
5. Ochsner J. The complex life of Rudolph Matas. J Vasc Surg.
2001; 34( 3):390-392.
6. Nunn D. Dr. Halsted’s secret operation on Dr. Matas. Ann
Surg. 1992;216( 1):87-93.
Dr. Matas in his library