The most eccentric physician who ever lived

Dr Messenger Monsey was one of the best-known physicians in eighteenth-century London, although probably not one of the most capable. He began his career as an obscure country doctor in Suffolk, but his fortunes changed after he was summoned to the bedside of an influential aristocrat, the Earl of Godolphin, who had suffered a ‘fit … Continue reading The most eccentric physician who ever lived

The man with two penises

On April 9th 1878 the professor of surgery at the University of Maryland, Dr Alan Smith, gave a talk at a meeting of the state medical society. His subject was lithotomy, the surgical removal of bladder stones, an operation he had performed many times. Dr Smith’s presentation referred to ‘fifty-two successful cases of lithotomy’, but … Continue reading The man with two penises

An interesting and remarkable accident

This is one of those cases that at first reading seems inherently unlikely – but, bizarre as it sounds, has a perfectly rational medical explanation. It took place in the 1830s but was only reported in any detail three-quarters of a century later. This article was contributed to the Buffalo Medical Journal by Dr Roswell … Continue reading An interesting and remarkable accident

The accidental hysterectomy

In 1840 one Dr Drane, a physician from Louisville in Kentucky, wrote a short communication to the Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery. The editor was astonished, commenting that the case was “unique in the annals of obstetric medicine”. It’s certainly, ahem, special: A woman residing in Oldham county, in this State, was attended by … Continue reading The accidental hysterectomy

Falling pregnant

The seventeenth-century French surgeon François Mauriceau was one of the founders of modern obstetrics. Over several decades he studied every aspect of pregnancy, childbirth and the health of newborn babies, attempting to put the discipline on a new theoretically sound and anatomically-informed basis. His masterpiece, published in 1668, is the treatise Des maladies des femmes … Continue reading Falling pregnant