Johann Georg Steigerthal was an eminent German medic of the early seventeenth century. In 1715 he was appointed court physician the Elector of Hanover Georg Ludwig – otherwise known as George I of Great Britain. Steigerthal was also a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1720 he contributed this striking case history to the society’s journal, the Philosophical Transactions… Read more
A short news item published in 1843 by the Gazette Médicale de Paris contains the sort of case that would give a hypochondriac sleepless nights. It was submitted by Jean Guyon, an eminent military surgeon who spent much of his career studying tropical diseases, in particular yellow fever and cholera. Another of his interests was the leech – not … Read more
In 1871 a coroner from the city of St Louis, Dr G. F. Dudley, sent a short paper entitled ‘Interesting Cases’ to the Medical Archives. They were all drawn from inquests over which he had presided, and they certainly are interesting – the first in particular.
Mr. J. H. L., aged 38, of vigorous and robust constitution, was wounded … Read more
I came across this interesting story in the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris, a collection of cases published in English in 1750. Until I looked into it more thoroughly I didn’t realise that this is not just a curiosity but a genuinely pioneering operation. It was documented in a treatise published in 1620 by the … Read more
This case, published in the Buffalo Medical and Surgical Journal in 1865, is one that makes you marvel at the resilience of the human body. The author, John C. Hutchison, was barely nineteen – young to be writing articles for medical journals – and working at the Marshall Infirmary in the city of Troy, New York:
Lydia Lista, a little … Read more
The ‘foreign correspondence’ pages of one 1861 issue of the Medical Times contain an eclectic selection of stories. The first concerns the ‘sucking apparatus of infants’ (i.e., babies’ mouths). But the following case was the one that caught my eye – headlined Foreign Body in the Transverse Colon:
A very curious case of this affection occurred a short time … Read more
At the annual meeting of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association in August 1844, a doctor from Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, Edward Daniell, presented this unusual case. He prefaced his account with the observation that it would ‘perhaps be interesting more from its novelty than for its value in a surgical point of view’. He wasn’t just being modest: as … Read more
On a warm August afternoon a man in his fifties is enjoying a game of bowls in the affluent English town of Tunbridge Wells. Suddenly he passes out and falls to the ground, apparently dead. If this scene were unfolding today, an ambulance would probably arrive in a few minutes, and paramedics would attempt resuscitation before whisking the poor man … Read more
According to an old journalistic adage, if a newspaper headline contains a question the correct answer is always ‘no’. For instance, ‘Could x offer a cure for cancer?’, to which the answer is always ‘no’, whether x is ‘green tea’, ‘mushrooms’ or ‘snake oil’.
In years gone by, it was quite common for a doctor to pass on his practice to one of his children: successive generations of medics might serve their local community for decades. The Watkins family, originally from the Northamptonshire town of Towcester, is an extreme example of such a dynasty: Timothy Watkins (1755-1834) was the first of seven generations of … Read more