This painful case was recorded in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences in 1839. The author, Dr Isaac Hulse, was the surgeon in charge of the US Navy hospital in Pensacola, Florida:
On the 7th of August last, Mr. Q. of this place, while in the privy, perceived himself to be stung by a spider on the glans penis. … Read more
It is not often that an author in a major medical journal thinks it necessary to state that they are not mad. But in 1891 Dr W.J. Galbraith, Professor of Surgery at Omaha Medical College, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported a case so extraordinary that he thought it necessary to offer a disclaimer by … Read more
A couple of months ago I wrote about a case from 1812 in which a patient with a massive facial injury was kept alive by lemonade injected into the rectum. Coincidentally I’ve just come across this report, published in 1878 in the American Practitioner, which covers rather similar territory. It aroused considerable interest at the time, since it … Read more
It’s been a little while since I’ve had the time to write a blog post. The reason for this hiatus is that my wife and I have been preparing for our move to Canada, where we’ll be living for the next twelve months. We arrived in Toronto earlier this week, and wasted no time in discovering the superb local craft … Read more
The French surgeon Auguste Nélaton is one of those figures better known for the company he kept than for what he did. As well as acting as personal physician to Napoleon III, Nélaton famously treated Giuseppe Garibaldi, the unifier of Italy, for a bullet wound.
It seems unfair that Nélaton is principally remembered for his connections with other … Read more
In 1829 a surgeon from Wolverhampton, William Lewis, contributed this unusual surgical tale to The Lancet:
John Roden, a boy about 11 years of age, (of the Deanery-row,) of a spare habit and pale complexion, received a shot wound on the 5th of November last, while passing a door from behind which a pistol was discharged, loaded with a … Read more
Committee reports aren’t exactly famed for their entertainment value. But while leafing through the 1850 volume of the Transactions of the American Medical Association I found one that contained an unexpected gem:
Buried deep within this lengthy document is a section about aneurysms – a disorder of the blood vessels in which a localised weakness causes the vessel to bulge … Read more
This case was published in the Report of the Army Medical Department for 1873, an annual publication produced by the medics of the British military. Browsing its pages, my first reaction was astonishment at the sheer size of the British Army at the height of Empire, and how many parts of the world they were stationed in: much of … Read more
This case was reported in 1896 in the Medico-Chirurgical Transactions by a surgeon, Rickman Godlee, who was a distant relative of mine (my second cousin five times removed, since you ask).
Godlee was the nephew of Joseph Lister, the originator of antiseptic surgery, whose innovations dramatically reduced the incidence of postoperative infection. A passionate advocate of his uncle’s antiseptic … Read more
Here’s a medical short story with a sting in the tail, first told in the French Gazette des Hopitaux in October 1860. The author is a Monsieur de Saint-Laurent, a surgeon at the Hôpital Cochin in Paris.
L– George, aged four months, of a fine constitution and not emaciated, arrived at the hospital on June 20 1860. The mother told … Read more