Do no harm – unless it’s a criminal

In 1875 the British Medical Journal had some fun digging around in the archives:

column for the curious

BARBAROUS PUNISHMENT: A SURGEON’S OCCUPATION. – 1720, March 29th. On Wednesday, Thomas Hayes, formerly the commander of a merchantman, stood in the pillory at Charing Cross, for the hour of twelve to one, when a surgeon, attended by the prison officers, got upon the pillory, when Read more

A 19th-century doctor’s guide to etiquette

Medical etiquetteIn the nineteenth century the medical profession had something of an image problem.  The archetype of the pompous or unscrupulous doctor was well established, and authors like Charles Dickens had much fun sending them up with satirical depictions which were painfully close to the mark.  In The Pickwick Papers, the young doctor Bob Sawyer uses a number of underhand … Read more

Busted! A medical plagiarist exposed

The index for Volume 5 of The Lancet, published in 1824, contains this intriguing entry:

piracy

Indexes are not often used to pursue feuds, but the story behind this entry was a bitter rivalry which lasted for several years.  So who was ‘Simon Pure’, and why had he aroused the wrath of the editor of The Lancet?  ‘Simon Pure’ … Read more