Medicine: Humdinger at 81

In 57 years of operating on some 20,000 patients, Manhattan's famed Surgeon John F. Erdmann (TIME, Dec. 7, 1942) has always managed to perform at least one operation on his birthday. But last week, as his 81st birthday loomed, none of his patients needed an operation. Gloomily Dr. Erdmann decided he would have to let his record stop at 57.

"Just then," says he, "a young lady with a stomachache came to see me. It turned out she needed an intestinal resection (piece of intestine removed). I did it on the morning of my...

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