In 1843 the Provincial Medical Journal published a landmark paper by Dr W.H. Ranking from Suffolk. It was a ‘landmark’ in that it was the first full-length publication in English to discuss a new disease that was soon to become the scourge of the male population: spermatorrhoea. Or, in plain English, involuntary ejaculation.
The person who first brought this worrying … Read more
In 1882 a young doctor from Clayton West in Yorkshire had his first paper published in a major medical journal. Dr Duncan Alistair MacGregor was not interested in making a name for himself: after completing his training in Edinburgh he had set up in practice as a country doctor, a vocation he would follow with dedication for another 40 years. … Read more
One evening in 1877 a medical student at the University of Paris, a young man by the name of Vielle, made a little piece of medical history – although perhaps not in a way he might have hoped for. This is how he later recalled the experience:
About 10 o’clock P.M., April 6th, 1877, I felt a smarting pain, heat, … Read more
In 1828 The Lancet reported a routine meeting of the London Medical Society. It began with a memorable presentation given by William Shearly, a surgeon at the Royal Naval Hospital in Deal:
After some ordinary business had been transacted, Mr. Shearly introduced to the notice of the Society a man who had suffered severe injury to the abdomen and loss … Read more
Unless you’re a marine biologist, the chances are that you’ve never used the word ‘lithophagus’. You may have eaten one, however: Lithophaga is a genus of mussels, some of whose species are edible, often served in a garlic, white wine and parsley sauce with plenty of crusty bread. Delicious.
But I digress.
‘Lithophagus’ comes from two Greek words: λίθος, … Read more
This strange little tale appeared in the London Medical and Surgical Journal in June 1832:
A curious case of this description became the subject of investigation at the Bow-street Police Office, a few days ago.
Interestingly, this crime was not being investigated by what we would regard as the ‘official’ police. London’s Metropolitan Police had been set up just three … Read more
In 1873 the Chicago Medical Journal published this article by a Dr Stewart from Muscatine, a small Iowa town on the banks of the Mississippi that would later become famous as the world-leading manufacturer of pearl buttons.
The article’s matter-of-fact headline scarcely does justice of the drama to come:
Anthony B., a lad aged 17, while standing beside a … Read more
In a week that’s seen snow across much of Britain and record low temperatures in parts of the US, this story from the Annals of Medicine for 1799 seems particularly appropriate:
A remarkable and well-authenticated case, of a woman surviving nearly eight days buried in the snow, without food, has occurred this spring, near Impington, in Cambridgeshire.
It’s no exaggeration … Read more