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William Beaumont. Portrait of William Beaumont (1785-1853), American physician and who did pioneering research into stomach digestion. In 1822 Beaumont saved the life of a Canadian trapper, Alexis St. Martin, who had been injured with a shotgun at close range. The injury left St. Martin with a permanent fistula (opening) in the wall of his stomach. This allowed Beaumont to examine the stomach lining, observe digestion taking place and obtain samples of gastric juice. He took 238 observations but St. Martin ran away after arguments between them. Beaumont published his results in Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and Physiology of Digestion (1833).
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