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Biographical entry Ochsner, Alton ( - 1981)

Hon FRCS 1962.

South Dakota, USA
General surgeon


Alton Ochsner was born in South Dakota in a family of Swiss origins. There was a very long tradition of physicians in the Ochsner family which could be traced back as far as the 12th century and indeed, the mother of Paracelsus was an Ochsner.

Alton qualified at Washington University, St Louis, and after a two year period in internal medicine he embarked on surgical training under his father's cousin, Dr A J Ochsner, which led him to Professor Clairment and later Professor Winterstein in Zurich. He continued his studies in Frankfurt before returning to America where he became an instructor in surgical pathology in Chicago. At the age of thirty he was appointed Professor of Surgery at Tulane University in New Orleans where he developed an extensive practice in cancer surgery, and built up the Ochsner Clinic as a private hospital. He had a wide interest in surgery but particularly concentrated on the lung and gastro-intestinal tract. As a result of this, honours were bestowed on him from many organisations in North and South America and, in 1962, Lawrence Abel gave the citation for his admission to the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. He had three sons, all of whom trained as doctors and worked in his clinic with him. He died in 1981.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Ann Roy Coll Surg Eng 1962, 31, 127-129].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England