In the mid-1970s, a car crash victim came to Dent Neurologic Institute at the since-demolished Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital in Buffalo.
The accident severed the woman’s carotid artery near an eye. Blood poured into the veins that encircle the artery. The patient’s eye was rapidly swelling and losing vision.
The typical response to such an emergency at that time was crude: shooting bits of muscle through the artery to try and plug the hole. But the neurosurgeon who handled the case, Dr. L. Nelson Hopkins III, had a different idea.