The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 44
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44 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Texas, where discipline was difficult, dissensions and disaffections
arose with tragedy and death as their sequels. Of this group was
surgeon Liotot, who had a big financial investment in the expedi-
tion. On shipboard and well into the wilderness of Texas, Liotot
and one other surgeon whose name is not mentioned fulfilled their
duties, for the most part, without comment or commendation. The
first mention of surgeon Liotot's work was in April, 1685, when
he performed the first recorded leg amputation in Texas. Joutel
gives this first-hand description of this pioneer operation: "About
that Time, and on Easter-day that Year, an unfortunate Accident
befel Monsieur le Gros. After Divine Service he took a Gun to
go kill Snipes about the Fort. He shot one, which fell into a Marsh;
he took off his Shoes and Stockings to fetch it out, and returning,
through Carelessness trod upon a Rattle Snake, so call'd, because
it has a Sort of Scale on the Tail, which makes a Noise. The
Serpent bit him a little above the Ankle." Five months later the
account continues: "His Leg still swelling, the Surgeon was appre-
hensive of a Mortification, and advis'd him to consent to have it
cut off. He did so, tho' with Regret, the Operation was made, but
a Fever follow'd immediately, and he liv'd but two Days, dying
on the Feast of the Decollation of St. John Baptist, much lamented
by all Men, and particularly by Monsieur de La Sale, to whom
he was very serviceable, by reason of his general Knowledge, and
his particular Fidelity towards him."'9
It is of interest to mention another snake-bite case which occurred
on this expedition. Father Douay records it: "Our Indian hunter
Nika suddenly cried out with all his might, 'I am dead!' We ran
up & learned that he had been cruelly bitten by a snake; this acci-
dent stopped us for several days. We gave him some orvietan,
and applied viper's salt on the wound after scarifying it to let out
the poison & tainted blood; he was at last saved."10
It is of especial significance that the wound was incised "to let
out the poison." The practice of treating snake-bite by incision
and suction, usually with the mouth, is very old. Celsus who lived
during the reign of Augustus Caesar was familiar with it. And
on down through the centuries it is mentioned with more or less
confidence. But it remained for Dr. Dudley Jackson of San Antonio
to supply the experimental proof that multiple incisions and pro-
9Joutel. op. cit. pp. 91 and 97.
loDouay. op. cit. p. 201.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/52/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.