A dangerous weapon

The Northern Journal of Medicine was a short-lived periodical which appeared for only two years before being acquired by a more successful competitor. But it had some illustrious contributors: published in Edinburgh, it was able to include papers by some of the most eminent medical academics in Europe. The very first edition, which appeared in May 1844, included this article … Read more

The bladder shrimp

On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo the Duke of Wellington was making a final inspection of his troops when he spotted one of the medical officers smoking a cigar. The Duke confronted him.

“Well! Hennen, is that the fortieth cigar today?”

“No, my lord,” replied the surgeon, “it is only the thirty-eighth.”

The chain-smoking surgeon was John … Read more

The eye magnet

Today’s story first appeared in the Observationes, a collection of case reports by the German surgeon Wilhelm Fabry (1560-1634).  Fabry, also known as Fabricius Hildanus, is sometimes referred to as the ‘father of German surgery’ and was a methodical and scientific operator whose careful descriptions of his work exerted a powerful influence on later generations of medics.

It isn’t … Read more

The lucky Prussian

Maximilian Joseph von Chelius was a prominent 19th-century German surgeon who had a significant influence on medics right across Europe. His lectures were frequently quoted in the London and Edinburgh journals, and his textbook Handbuch der Chirurgie, translated into English as A System of Surgery, was widely used.

In a chapter devoted to chest injuries, Chelius … Read more