A few decades ago, a glance at an ancient medical text alerted Dr. Gonzalo M. Sanchez to something he found fascinating. Medical professionals, he discovered, had been scrutinizing patients and drawing well-reasoned conclusions about them for a long, long time.
The text he saw is a revered Egyptian treatise on trauma from about the 17th century B.C. — and much of its content might be even older than that.
"I was blown away," he said. "It was telling me exactly the same thing to look for that I was going down to the Bellevue Hospital Emergency Room and seeing."
That was in 1965, when Sanchez was in his first year of neurosurgical training at the New York University Medical Center. It began an odyssey that would lead Sanchez to become part of that ancient medical treatise's long and complex story. By this summer, a new translation of the treatise by Sanchez and Edmund S. Meltzer is scheduled for publication with Lockwood Press. The work is called "The Edwin Smith Papyrus: Updated Translation of the Trauma Treatise and Modern Medical Commentaries."