In the summer of 1890, an adventurous seventeen-year-old from New Jersey named Elizabeth Dashiell travelled across the United States by train. During the journey, she caught her hand between the seats of a Pullman car. The hand became swollen and painful, and, when it didn’t heal after she returned home, Dashiell consulted William Coley, a young surgeon in New York City. Unable to determine a diagnosis, he made a small incision below the bottom joint of her pinkie finger, where it connected to the back of her hand, to relieve the pressure, but only a few drops of pus drained out. During the following weeks, Coley saw Dashiell regularly. In the operating room, he scraped hard, gristly material off the bones of her hand. But the procedure gave only fleeting relief. Finally, Coley performed a biopsy that showed that Dashiell had sarcoma, a cancer of the connective tissue, which was unrelated to her initial injury. In a desperate attempt to stop the cancer’s spread, Coley followed the practice of the time and amputated Dashiell’s arm just below the elbow. But the sarcoma soon reappeared, as large masses in her neck and abdomen. In January, 1891, she died at home, with Coley at her bedside.