The year is 1840, and The Lancet brings us this snippet of medical news from Germany:
A man who, from his youth, had been accustomed to catch and tame vipers, brought two, on the 24th March, to a shopkeeper. While playing with one of the animals, he put it in his mouth…
I bet you can’t guess what happened next.… Read more
Just a quick update on a few exciting developments. My new book The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth will be on sale very soon. It’s a collection of my favourite medical curiosities, including some of the hilarious, bizarre or otherwise notable stories featured on this blog – many of them revised and expanded, and with a number of illustrations reproduced … Read more
A few days ago I was reading an article about foreign bodies in the bladder – for what better way to while away a dull afternoon? In 1897 a doctor from Philadelphia, Francis Packard, wrote an analysis of more than 200 cases, all of which had been published in medical journals in the preceding fifty years. The range of objects … Read more
In 1809 the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal printed this striking report of an agricultural accident from a surgeon in Ripon:
August 30th 1808, ten o’clock AM, I went to Norton Mills, about four miles from hence, to see John Brown, aged twelve years, who had received a wound in the abdomen by a pair of wool shears.
It … Read more
Sometimes a headline says it all. In June 1842 the London Medical Gazette printed a letter under this memorable title:
The case report that followed was submitted by a retired naval surgeon called Archibald Blacklock (previously featured on this blog, and best known as the man who crept into Robert Burns’s tomb one night in 1834 and took a … Read more
Here’s an intriguing article from the American Medico-Surgical Bulletin of 1895, summarising a paper published in a German journal:
The author reports a successful case of strangulated hernia, in which, after resection of about 3 inches of intestine, he performed lateral intestinal anastomosis.
Strangulated hernia is a condition in which a loop of the bowel protrudes through a hole in … Read more
Here’s a striking report from The London Medical and Surgical Journal, originally published in March 1837. The headline is straightforward enough:
Two remarkable cases of this kind I have had an opportunity of seeing weekly, for twelve months. The first occurred at Manchester; the second was in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, under the auspices of Mr. — , and both … Read more
In 1873 Thomas Lauder Brunton was asked to give a lecture to the Abernethian Society of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Lauder Brunton would later become famous as the pioneer of amyl nitrite, the first drug shown to be effective in treating angina pain. But in 1873 he was a little-known 29-year-old, only recently appointed to the hospital as … Read more
During a meeting of the New York Pathological Society in 1872, a local physician called Dr Post gave a short talk about one of his patients, who had discovered a highly novel method of injuring himself:
On the 9th August, 1872, I was requested to see Mr. B., a young man 19 years of age, who, about four months before, … Read more
Mercer’s Hospital, founded in 1734, was for many years one of the most important teaching hospitals in Ireland – but it is perhaps most readily associated today with a piece of music. In 1742 the first performance of Handel’s Messiah took place in Dublin in a fundraising concert for local charities – Mercer’s Hospital among them.
In 1869 The Medical … Read more