Scalpel, suture and Swedish turnips

Here’s an intriguing article from the American Medico-Surgical Bulletin of 1895, summarising a paper published in a German journal: The author reports a successful case of strangulated hernia, in which, after resection of about 3 inches of intestine, he performed lateral intestinal anastomosis.  Strangulated hernia is a condition in which a loop of the bowel protrudes … Continue reading Scalpel, suture and Swedish turnips

Occupational hazard

Here’s a striking report from The London Medical and Surgical Journal, originally published in March 1837. The headline is straightforward enough: Two remarkable cases of this kind I have had an opportunity of seeing weekly, for twelve months. The first occurred at Manchester; the second was in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, under the auspices of Mr. … Continue reading Occupational hazard

Frightened to death

In 1873 Thomas Lauder Brunton was asked to give a lecture to the Abernethian Society of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Lauder Brunton would later become famous as the pioneer of amyl nitrite, the first drug shown to be effective in treating angina pain.  But in 1873 he was a little-known 29-year-old, only recently appointed … Continue reading Frightened to death

“Oh, I’ll tell you another time”

In 1811 the novelist Fanny Burney underwent a mastectomy for suspected breast cancer. The operation was a total success: she lived for another 28 years without any recurrence of the tumour. Burney recorded her experience in a searing letter to her sister Esther. It’s a masterpiece of descriptive writing, an account so vivid that every … Continue reading “Oh, I’ll tell you another time”