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This article was published in The American Surgeon Volume 77, Issue 12, December 2011, Pages 1574-1575.

The published version is available at PMID: 22273210. Copyright © Ingenta


The Bovie electrocautery has become a fundamental tool of modern-day surgery, particularly for its integral role in hemostasis, yet despite this landmark invention and its widespread use, there is very little said about the man behind the machine: William T. Bovie. It would be thousands of years from the inception of cautery in medicine until the birth of Dr. Bovie and his device. However, his work in biophysics and collaboration with Dr. Harvey Cushing would revolutionize surgical practice in the early 20th century and forever ingrain his name into the field of surgery.