Medicine: A Finger for en Eye

Few surgical operations are older than those performed for cataract of the eye. As early as about 2000 B.C., the Code of Hammurabi ordained: "If a physician . . . open a tumor of the eye with a bronze lancet and save [the patient's] sight, he shall have ten shekels of silver ... If a physician open an abscess of the eye with a bronze lancet and the patient lose his eye, the physician shall have his fingers cut off." In his monumental monograph, Surgery of Cataract (Lippincott; $30), New York Ophthalmologist Daniel B. Kirby traces the history of operations for...

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