The punctured bowel

An edition of The Retrospect of Practical Medicine and Surgery from 1872 contains this remarkable tale, narrated by a London surgeon, Thomas Bryant: On August 18, 1871, my friend Mr. Kelson Wright, of Kennington, asked me to see with him a case of strangulated hernia in an old, half-childish man, aged 71. He had been the subject of a … Continue reading The punctured bowel

Better late than never

Today’s medical journals pride themselves on their topicality, publishing the latest research as soon as it’s available – but those news values did not apply in 1845, when the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal agreed to publish a case report almost half a century old. It was sent to them by a retired surgeon, William … Continue reading Better late than never

She cut off her nose with a carving knife

The image above shows the Jardin Royal (Royal Garden) in Paris – misleadingly named, since although it included a botanical garden it was primarily an educational institution. In addition to botany, it offered classes in chemistry, anatomy and surgery. One member of its faculty was the surgeon Pierre Dionis (c.1643-1718), who taught there for many … Continue reading She cut off her nose with a carving knife

Attempted suicide by spoon

When Dr Samuel White, a doctor from the town of Hudson in upstate New York, took on this case in 1806 he got more than he bargained for. He reported the unusual circumstances in The Medical Repository the following year: May 22nd, 1806, George Macy, aged twenty-six, became a patient of mine, with a rheumatic … Continue reading Attempted suicide by spoon

Like an elastic ball

The great French surgeon Guillaume Dupuytren was known to his unfortunate juniors as ‘the Napoleon of surgery’ and ‘the brigand of the Hôtel Dieu’, the Paris hospital where he reigned supreme. While he was a difficult character, he was also very good. His name is mainly associated today with Dupuytren’s Contracture, a condition which causes the … Continue reading Like an elastic ball