Medicine: Echo of the Incas

The 31-year-old patient lay in an up-to-date operating room in Lima, Peru, surrounded by sterile gadgets and the paraphernalia of modern anesthesia. At hand, to forestall infection, were ultramodern antibiotics. Flanking the patient were two of Peru's most distinguished surgeons, Drs. Francisco Grańa Reyes and Esteban Rocca. But their instruments were bronze chisels and saws made of obsidian (volcanic glass) which were 2,000 years old when Francisco Pizarro conquered Peru.

Tightly wound around the patient's head was a three-layer bandage tourniquet such as Inca and pre-Inca surgeons used. With bronze chisel and copper hammer,

Grańa and Rocca cut a hole in the left...

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