Walter A. Fansler

Walter A. Fansler | ASCRS

1929 to 1930

Second only to the field of Genito Urinary disease Proctology has offered the most fertile and widely exploited field for the charlatan and the quack. The cause of this I place squarely upon the shoulders of the medical profession and the medical colleges. In the past practically no instruction in Proctology was offered to students of medicine. The result was that the average medical student graduated with practically no knowledge of rectal disease. Even at present there are but few institutions which offer anything like adequate training. Originally this may have been due to the fact that there were no teachers available who had much experience in this field. On the other hand the departments of General Surgery offered every opposition to any one who wished to develop a department of Proctology. It was deemed a personal affront to assume that the General Surgeons were not caring for their rectal cases in the best possible manner. Proctology was seen as just another specialty to divorce the general surgeon from another portion of his work. Regardless of what may have been thought by the surgeons, the fact remains, that rectal surgery was done in a very haphazard and slipshod manner. It rather compares to some of the tonsillectomies where it was often difficult to say whether a larger portion of the tonsil had been removed or left in the throat. After care was neglected, or thought unnecessary. The patients however thought differently. After going thru the ordeal of the operation many were not benefited, or at least not permanently cured, and many were undoubtedly made worse. With so many patients haying this experience it is no wonder that the public feared the pain of rectal operations, and distrusted the results.

With rectal diseases neglected, or poorly treated by the profession, the field was ripe for anyone offering a method which avoided operation. About 1891 the injection method for the treatment of hemorrhoids came into being.