AJO History of Ophthalmology Series

The famous expedition to explore the new Louisiana Purchase in America, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark, managed to reach the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean in 1805 without a single fatal casualty due to violence from either accident or hostile Indians. After thus surviving innumerable dangers on the trip to the Pacific, Lewis narrowly escaped being killed by accident while on the return trip in 1806.

One of the privates in the Corps of Discovery was Pierre Cruzatt, who was known to be blind in one eye and (probably) myopic in the other. Nonetheless he was a skilled hunter, and Lewis went out with him one afternoon to shoot an elk for dinner. They separated, and Cruzatt evidently mistook Lewis, who was wearing a brown jacket, for an elk and fired at him. The bullet entered Lewis’ left thigh and exited from the buttock, missing the bone or any large blood vessel. Lewis managed to get back to the party by himself, dressed the wound and packed it open to heal by secondary intention. He was in pain and disabled for most of a month, but healed without serious infection. The embarrassed Cruzatt would not admit to doing the shooting, but never hunted with Lewis again.

Submitted by Ronald Fishman from the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society.

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Jan 16, 2017 | Posted by in OPHTHALMOLOGY | Comments Off on AJO History of Ophthalmology Series

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