Days Gone By - stories from the past

In 1902 the first open heart surgery was performed in Montgomery by Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill

Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill
Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill

Did you know….?

In 1902, Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performed the first open heart surgery in the Western Hemisphere by suturing a stab wound in a young boy’s heart. The surgery occurred in Montgomery.

“In the early morning hours of September 15, 1902, Hill was summoned by two local Montgomery physicians who were attempting to treat Henry Myrick, a 13-year-old African American youth, who had been the victim of a stab wound to the heart the previous afternoon.

Six hours passed before the first physicians had been called, and another two hours passed before Hill arrived at the boy’s home. Myrick’s wound had been bleeding continuously, and although he was still conscious, his pulse was fading. Hill convinced the family to let him operate on the wound.Dr. hill historic marker

Although he was widely regarded as an authority on heart wounds, Hill had not actually operated on a living heart. Hill moved Myrick to a table and by lantern light began the procedure, assisted by his brother and a fourth physician who had arrived to administer chloroform to the patient.

Hill opened the youth’s chest and discovered a great deal of internal bleeding within the pericardium, the protective tissue surrounding the heart. To relieve pressure on the injured organ, Hill opened the pericardial sack to drain the blood.

He then stitched the stab wound, which was in the left ventricle of Myrick’s heart, with catgut thread. The entire procedure lasted 45 minutes.

Myrick survived and within a few weeks had recovered from his injuries. With this procedure, Hill became the first American physician to successfully repair a wounded heart in a surgery that the patient survived.”

Location of Hill Infirmary, Montgomery, AL
Location of Hill Infirmary, Montgomery, AL
Hlll seated on left
Hlll seated on left


1.Encyclopedia of  Alabama



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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1) is a collection of lost and forgotten stories about the people who discovered and initially settled in Alabama.

Some stories include:

  1. The true story of the first Mardi Gras in America and where it took place
  2. The Mississippi Bubble Burst – how it affected the settlers
  3. Did you know that many people devoted to the Crown settled in Alabama –
  4. Sophia McGillivray- what she did when she was nine months pregnant
  5. Alabama had its first Interstate in the early days of settlement

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1) (Paperback)
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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1) (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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