In 1851 a physician from Ohio, Dr P.J. Buckner, was at a meeting of the State Medical Society when he got chatting to a colleague, Charles Beach. Dr Beach told him of a case so extraordinary that Buckner decided to travel 220 miles to see the patient for himself. He was determined to get visual proof, so – naturally enough … Read more
This blog has on several occasions chronicled the unlikely range of foreign objects which patients have managed to get stuck in various parts of their anatomy. See, for instance, the tale of the man who swallowed knives, the wine glass up the bottom, and the barometer stuck in the bladder.
But I think the following tale takes … Read more
With debate raging about the virtues (or otherwise) of eating a low-fat diet, it was interesting to come across this story from the Philosophical Transactions. It has long been known that eating sugar is bad for your teeth – but in 1728 one doctor, at least, thought the exact opposite. Dr Frederick Slare wrote this:
I have had reason … Read more
A miraculous recovery today, taken from the pages of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. This report was published in 1708 and, unusually, written by the patient, himself a doctor. Dr Robert Fielding practised in Gloucester, and during the Civil War was a prominent Royalist. On September 20th 1643 he fought in the First Battle of Newbury, … Read more
In 1807 the Philadelphia Medical Museum was sent an extraordinary case report by a local doctor who had been ‘sent it by a friend’. Neither he nor anybody else appeared to know who had written the report, so its authenticity is doubtful – but the events it describes were certainly worth reproducing:
In the evening of the 26th of September, … Read more
This is hay fever season (if you’re reading this in the northern hemisphere, at least) – the time of year when airborne pollen makes life a misery for anybody unlucky enough to be allergic to the stuff. The condition is incurable, but a range of drugs including antihistamines can reduce the symptoms significantly. No such luck in the nineteenth century, … Read more
The French medical journal, La Clinique, gives an account of the experiments of M. Martinez, the fire-proof man, as he is called, who is now one of the principal objects of attraction at Paris. M. Martinez is not, like the … Read more
In 1843 a Dr T.O. Ward wrote to the London Medical Gazette on the subject of pain. A previous correspondent had suggested that victims of asphyxiation felt nothing and were insensible to pain. Dr Ward begged to differ, drawing on his own childhood as evidence:
When a boy, I was very fond of making boyish experiments on my powers of … Read more
Here’s a cracking ‘news in brief’ item from an 1851 edition of The Lancet:
A few days back a curious case occurred at a roadside inn, known by the name of the “Rummer”, a few miles from Norwich.
Stoke Cross, to be precise. The Rummer Inn was a venerable watering hole which finally closed in 1957. If it helps … Read more
A girl about twelve years of age, who had been long troubled with colick pains, was last year under my management. She complained of pains fixed in one part about two inches below the short ribs of the left side, … Read more