Williams, Daniel Hale

Williams, Daniel Hale,

1858–1931, American surgeon, b. Hollidaysburg, Pa., M.D. Northwestern Univ., 1883. As surgeon of the South Side Dispensary in Chicago (1884–91), he became keenly aware of the lack of facilities for training African Americans like himself as doctors and nurses. As a result he organized the Provident Hospital, the first black hospital in the United States. In 1893, Williams performed the first successful closure of a wound of the heart and pericardium. In the same year President Cleveland appointed him surgeon in chief of Freedmen's Hospital, Washington, D.C., and during his five-year tenure there he reorganized the hospital and provided a training school for African American nurses. From 1899 until his death he was professor of clinical surgery at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn.
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Williams, Daniel Hale

(1858–1931) surgeon, medical educator; born in Hollidaysburg, Pa. One of the first African-Americans to graduate from medical school (Chicago Medical College/Northwestern University, 1883), he organized Provident Hospital in Chicago (1891), establishing training programs for the medical education of African-American men (interns) and women (nurses). While there he performed the first successful surgical closure of a wound to the heart and the pericardium (1893); he perfected the suture technique for stopping hemorrhage from the spleen; he was also an early advocate of asepsis. President Grover Cleveland appointed him surgeon-in-chief at Freedmen's hospital in Washington, D.C. (1893–98), where he established a second training program for African-American men and women. He then became a professor of clinical surgery at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. (1899). In 1913, he was a charter member—and the only African-American so honored—of the American College of Surgeons, and for many decades he was regarded as the premier African-American in the medical profession.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.