1822 : Alexis St. Martin Shot In Stomach on Mackinac Island

June 6, 2024 all-day

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On June 6, 1822, Alexis St-Martin — a 19-year old Canadian voyageur who worked for the American Fur Company — was accidentally shot with a musket at close range at the fur trading post on Mackinac Island. The charge of the musket shot left a hole through his side that healed to form a fistula aperture into his stomach

Fortunately for the French Canadian fur trader, Dr. William Beaumont, an army surgeon stationed at Fort Mackinac, was able to operate and save the patient’s life. Unfortunately for the patient, the hole in his stomach never fully closed.

Unable to continue working as a voyageur, Dr. Beaumont hired Alexis as a handyman.   During the day he did various chores such as chop wood, fetch supplies, etc., but at night Beaumont persuaded the patient to allow him to study his stomach’s digestion abilities. Beaumont eventually became famous for his gastric medicine and was the namesake for a hospital in Royal Oak.

St. Martin did ok too, marrying, fathering 17 children, and living to the ripe old age of 76.

Sources :

Michigan Every Day

Alexis St. Martin Wikipedia Entry

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