Ever swallowed a leech by accident? Me neither. Here’s a tale told by Surgeon-Lieutenant T.A. Granger, a surgeon in the British army in India, in a letter to the British Medical Journal in 1895. It might make you a bit more careful about your drinking water next time you’re abroad: Several days ago I received … Continue reading A leech in the throat
The Dictionnaire des Sciences Médicales, published in France between 1812 and 1822, was the first encyclopaedic dictionary of medicine. It’s a massive work, running to 60 volumes. To get a sense of its scale, consider the fact that volume seven, a tome of some 700 pages, deal only with the alphabet between COR and CYS. … Continue reading Incorrigible
In 1868 the Richmond Medical Journal reported an extraordinary accident which had befallen a 9-year-old boy at a cotton press in Missouri. Since few of my readers are likely to have an instant mental image of one of these pieces of machinery, here’s a quick description. A cotton press was a substantial contraption typically made … Continue reading A hopeless case?
Having spent most of the last year sitting in seclusion writing and editing my first book, I was amused to come across an essay by the eighteenth-century Swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot. Tissot is perhaps best known today for his work L’Onanisme, the first scholarly examination of masturbation (executive summary: he was not a fan). In … Continue reading The perils of being a writer
Here’s a strange little tale which – unusually for this blog – does not involve a single doctor, since the patient recovered from a long-standing medical condition as the result of a dream. It comes from a short paper which was read at a meeting of the Royal Society on February 4th 1748 by one … Continue reading Cured by a nightmare
In 1859 The Medical Times and Gazette included this report from John Robert Kealy, a surgeon from Gosport. He relates how a patient stuck a pin in her ear – and recovered it through her mouth twenty-four hours later: About six o’clock on a Monday evening in last month, I was requested to attend immediately … Continue reading A pin in the ear
In 1870 a Dr John P. Gray, of Utica, told this strange and rather sad little tale to a meeting of the New York State Medical Society, about a patient he had recently encountered. The case was then reported in The Medical Record: The individual was a native of Germany, and had always been considered as … Continue reading Sheathed in a pig’s gut
Today’s medical dispatch comes from the Canada Medical Journal, and was submitted to that publication in 1867 by Dr Thomas Jones, a physician from Montreal. It gives a new meaning to the phrase ‘putting lead in your pencil’. Michael Creigh, a native of Ireland, aged forty-eight years, applied at the Montreal General Hospital, in December, … Continue reading The missing pencil