Felix Spector

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 27 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:726
  1. Jeanne Lenzer

    Surgeon of eunuchs

    Felix Spector started his career as a general practitioner during the second world war. He soon became known as a doctor who specialised in an unusual operation—orchidectomies for men who wanted to have their testicles removed. Enthusiastic patients spread news of Spector’s work via the internet, and he became a central figure to a community of eunuchs in the United States, Britain, and Germany. A 2003 documentary, American Eunuch, featured Spector’s unusual practice and the men who sought him out.

    Born in 1917 to poor, Russian Jewish immigrants, Spector grew up in a Philadelphia tenement. His father was a peddler who sold items from the trunk of his car along the New Jersey Turnpike, earning enough money to allow Spector to attend Temple University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, from which he graduated in 1942.

    During the second world war Spector took over the practice of a doctor from a small town in Texas who was drafted for military service. His first brush with serious controversy—and the law—came during the 1940s when he was found guilty of performing abortions, which were illegal at the …

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