This spectacular case was published in the Medical Press and Circular, a leading Irish journal, in 1866. The author Dr Thomas Geoghegan was an eminent Dublin physician, particularly well known for his expertise in forensic medicine. (Dr Geoghegan makes a brief appearance in the book I’ve just finished writing, a true-crime thriller about an extraordinary Dublin murder case, … Read more
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