Reeking from the jaw of the living animal

The 1843 volume of The Dublin Journal of Medical Science contains this gem from Mr Robert Twiss, a surgeon from Kerry. Though it’s only a short report it made quite a stir on publication, and was still being cited in textbooks of dentistry many decades later. The first sentence is nothing if not arresting:  On … Continue reading Reeking from the jaw of the living animal

Pregnant with a toothbrush

In 1874 The Lancet printed this cautionary tale by Thomas Whiteside Hime, who had discovered the hard way that things aren’t always what they seem. He began his article by reminding his colleagues of the ‘great importance of carefulness in diagnosing’ – particularly where a supposed pregnancy is concerned:  Early in July last, M. G., … Continue reading Pregnant with a toothbrush

The exploding scrotum

In February 1793 a small British expeditionary force under the command of the Duke of York landed at Hellevoetsluis in the Netherlands. They were part of an international coalition whose aim was to invade and occupy Revolutionary France. Known as the Flanders Campaign, the effort was a failure: the French counterattacked and succeeded in annexing … Continue reading The exploding scrotum

Attempted suicide by spoon

When Dr Samuel White, a doctor from the town of Hudson in upstate New York, took on this case in 1806 he got more than he bargained for. He reported the unusual circumstances in The Medical Repository the following year: May 22nd, 1806, George Macy, aged twenty-six, became a patient of mine, with a rheumatic … Continue reading Attempted suicide by spoon

The spear and the eucalyptus tree

In 1891 The Lancet printed this case report by Andrew Ross, a doctor who some years earlier had been practising in the small Australian settlement of Molong in New South Wales:  On Dec. 25th a messenger arrived requesting my attendance on one “Harry,” an aboriginal, who had, in an encounter with another of the race, … Continue reading The spear and the eucalyptus tree