Death from peas

In July 1842 the London Medical Gazette printed one of the most intriguing headlines in the history of the journal: The story accompanying it was told by George Johnson, a physician’s assistant at King’s College Hospital in London. This is what he had to relate:  John Lydbury, aged 60, labourer, was brought to the hospital on … Continue reading Death from peas

The fire-proof man

In 1828 The Lancet reported the antics of  a person they called ‘the fire-proof man’, a Cuban with extraordinary abilities: The French medical journal, La Clinique, gives an account of the experiments of M. Martinez, the fire-proof man, as he is called, who is now one of the principal objects of attraction at Paris. M. … Continue reading The fire-proof man

A suicidal machine

In 1837 The Lancet reported a cause of death previously unknown in the annals of medical science.  Its report begins:  The following is an account of the post mortem examination of the body of Mr. Robert Cocking, aged sixty-one, who fell with a suicidal machine called a parachute, from the cord of a balloon which ascended from Vauxhall Gardens, on … Continue reading A suicidal machine

Killed by shaving

Here’s a case which wouldn’t surprise a modern medic, but which caused considerable puzzlement when it occurred in the first half of the nineteenth century: a patient who died while being shaved. This tale, first reported in Marryat’s London Metropolitan Magazine, was cited by one Dr Joseph Comstock in a letter to the Boston Medical … Continue reading Killed by shaving

Suffocated by a fish

Here’s a ‘news in brief’ item which appeared in the British Medical Journal in 1863, under this headline:A warder of the Bagne at Toulon, has just met his death in the following manner: he was amusing himself, while off duty, with fishing in the dock, when, having caught a fish about seven inches long and … Continue reading Suffocated by a fish