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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 15, 2007

Nov. 27 talk: Iowa's role in establishing first outpatient surgical center

The public is invited to a University of Iowa History of Medicine talk on "Iowa Leading the Way: Dr. Ralph Waters and the First Ambulatory Surgery Center" at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, in Room 401 of the UI Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

The speaker will be Douglas Merrill, medical director of ambulatory surgery at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Light refreshments will be served. The lecture is part of a series of presentations sponsored by the UI History of Medicine Society.

Merrill will discuss the life and career of Waters, who established the world's first outpatient surgical center in 1918 in Sioux City, Iowa. While outpatient surgery centers are common today, they were unknown until Waters saw the opportunity to combine his professional qualifications as an anesthesiologist with those of local dentists and surgeons. In doing so, he helped establish anesthesiology as a medical specialty.

Waters went on to invent anesthesia delivery systems that underlie those still used today and to become a founding father of academic anesthesiology in the United States.

Merrill will also speak on anesthesia and surgery early in the 20th century, as well as Water's later career as head of the first full-fledged university department of anesthesia at the University of Wisconsin.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Ed Holtum at 319-335-9154 or

For directions to Hardin Library and information on parking, visit

For more information about the UI History of Medicine Society lecture series, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACTS: Edwin Holtum, UI History of Medicine Society, 319-335-9154,; Becky Soglin, UI Health Science Relations, 319-335-6660,