The lucky Prussian

Maximilian Joseph von Chelius was a prominent 19th-century German surgeon who had a significant influence on medics right across Europe. His lectures were frequently quoted in the London and Edinburgh journals, and his textbook Handbuch der Chirurgie, translated into English as A System of Surgery, was widely used. In a chapter devoted to chest injuries, … Continue reading The lucky Prussian

In hospital for 34 years

In December 1886 the Cincinnati Enquirer published an exclusive from its New York correspondent. He had uncovered an amazing story at one of the city’s hospitals – the death of its longest-standing patient. She’d been an inmate there for three decades, but that wasn’t even the most interesting part of the tale: When Nellie Steele … Continue reading In hospital for 34 years

The pigeon’s rump cure

Eclampsia is a serious condition affecting women before, during or after childbirth.  The name means literally ‘bursting forth’, an apt description for the seizures that characterise the condition, which arrive suddenly and dramatically. The cause of eclampsia has never been identified, although it is always preceded by pre-eclampsia – a combination of symptoms including high … Continue reading The pigeon’s rump cure

Mr Dendy’s egg-cup case

In 1834 the Lancet published a wonderfully unusual article by Walter Dendy, a surgeon from Blackfriars in London. The heading at the top of each page refers to it simply as ‘Mr Dendy’s Egg-Cup Case’ – a splendid description of a splendid case: Mr Adams, a man 60 years of age, had been afflicted with … Continue reading Mr Dendy’s egg-cup case