During the late visit to Hull, England, of Wombwell's menagerie, the elephant " Chubby" underwent an operation which, from its ovelty and success, deserves a place among surgical records. For twelve or fifteen months previously, a tumor had been gathering on Chubby's off-side thigh. It grew, and grew, and grew, till at last men began to doubt whether the elephant was an appendage of the tumor, or th tumor an appendage of the elephant; for the larger grew the one, the smaller grew the other. Chubby sickened, lost his appetite, pined away; his skin became "a world too wide." The sobriquet of Chubby, which his once fair proportions merited, grew to be a mockery, and it became evident that unless the tumor and Chubby dissolved partnership, the former would soon be sole representative of the firm. Change of air was tried, but the tumor only derived advantage. Medical advice was called in ; but alas it proved another nut which the faculty could not crack. Nine famous "leeches," at nine various stations, tried their juleps and catholi-cons, but in vain ; no one daring to have recourse to the knife with such a patient. Such was the state of matters when Chubby paid his farewell visit, as it was supposed, last Hull fair. His friends, as a last resource, applied to one of their townsmen, a veterinary surgeon, Mr. Tom B. H. Hyde, Jun. Mr. Hyde went, saw, and boldly resolved to use the lancet. The operation was performed a few days after the fair, and lasted two hours; Chubby undergoing it with snch fortitude and good sense as could only be derived from a consciousness of its object. The tumor, when removed, weighed five pounds, and one of the fangs had to be searched out with the knife for a foot down the thigh. The operation proved eminently successful. Every fresh bulletin announced his improving health till the latter end of November, when Mr. Hyde pronounced his patient thoroughly restored, and capable of returning to business. Chubby at once took the train to join his friends, Messrs. Wombwell &Co., and when last heard of, his appetite and good looks were the theme of general admiration.
This article was originally published with the title "Operation on an Elephant" in Scientific American 13, 27, 211 (March 1858)