This story has a delightful combination of youthful misadventure and surgical ingenuity. OK, so ‘delightful’ might be a bit of a stretch, but I suspect you’ve never read anything quite like it. The case was first published in a French medical journal, the Journal des Connaissances Médico-chirurgicales, in 1847.
The headline translates as ‘Memoir and observations on a new … Read more
It’s Guy Fawkes Night, the annual festival when we British celebrate (inter alia) the barbaric torture and execution of a religious dissident four hundred years ago by setting off brightly-coloured explosions in our gardens and public spaces.
Which of these activities do you think is more immoral: selling fireworks to children, or sending them up chimneys? Surprisingly, … Read more
In 1846 John Kyle, a surgeon from the Ohio village of Cedarville, submitted the following case report to The Western Lancet. The headline gives some indication of the unusual nature of the circumstances:
In the spring of 1846 I was called to see — Moore, a boy aged 2 years. He had been a very strong, healthy and fleshy … 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 December 1761 a leading French journal, the Journal of Medicine, Surgery and Pharmacy, published a splendid little article by a surgeon from Bordeaux, a Monsieur Renard. The headline describes it as being about ‘a pea that sprouted in the cavities of the nose’:
On the 15th of June I was called to see a three-year-old child in whose … Read more
In 1834 the Lancet published a wonderfully unusual article by Walter Dendy, a surgeon from Blackfriars in London. The heading at the top of each page refers to it simply as ‘Mr Dendy’s Egg-Cup Case’ – a splendid description of a splendid case:
Mr Adams, a man 60 years of age, had been afflicted with inguinal hernia 25 years, which, … Read more
There are plenty of common myths about Victorian social mores, but anything you have read about their disapproval of onanism (masturbation) is likely to be true. Nineteenth-century medics were apparently united in their condemnation of the practice, which was believed to cause not just blindness, but all manner of serious physical ailments – many of them potentially fatal. One extraordinary … Read more
In March 1827 The London Medical Repository and Review included a short report of an inquest which had been held a couple of weeks earlier. The deceased was a small child, whose name is not revealed – and since children were often referred to at this date as ‘it’, it is not even possible to establish whether it was a … Read more
Nineteenth-century medical journals are not short of ghastly occupational injuries. Factories, building sites and the new railways were frightening places, and there is barely an issue of a major journal that does not contain at least one article about terrible accidents caused by inadequate safety arrangements in the workplace. But this example, published in the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal … Read more