Probably the most wonderful phenomenon that has ever come under the observation of the medical fraternity of this city developed itself at the Montcalm House, on Erie street, in the person of a boy named Herbert G. Schwartz. Schwartz senior is a farmer, … Read more
A regular feature of any hospital accident and emergency department is the patient who turns up in an embarrassing and self-inflicted predicament. When questioned about the nature of the injury and how it came about, they come up with an utterly implausible explanation. One example: “I was standing on a chair in the nude, trying to close the window, and … Read more
In 1838 a French specialist in bladder stones, Professor Civiale, wrote a remarkable paper for the Gazette des Hôpitaux in which he recorded the extraordinary variety of objects which he had been asked to remove from the urinary systems of his patients. He relates
a collection of one hundred and sixty-six cases of foreign bodies in the bladder, in which … Read more
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 two broad, and not … Read more
We’ve all heard of student pranks that went too far, but this story takes youthful high jinks to a truly excessive, even psychopathic, level. This case was reported by an Italian doctor, Marchetti, in the 17th century*, and documented by the New York surgeon Charles B. Kelsey in his 1882 textbook Diseases of the Rectum and Anus.
Some … Read more
This story, attributed to the great American physician Benjamin Rush and repeated in a medical journal in 1839, is almost certainly apocryphal – but it has a good punchline.
We are apt to believe a merry companion the happiest fellow in the world, and envy him, perhaps, his light heart and airy spirits; but such men have hours of melancholy, … Read more
Some Slates falling from the Roof of a House four Storeys high, upon the Head of a Girl about thirteen Years of Age, broke and shattered her Cranium at the Place where … Read more
This brief case report is a reminder that there are certain medical horrors which were once commonplace but which are never seen today in the developed world. Untreatable conditions would progress unhindered, often resulting in terrible deformity. Tumours could reach a size almost unimaginable to the modern mind – although in developing countries such cases do, sadly, still arise.
This … Read more
Here’s a story published 150 years ago in the British Medical Journal which made me wince on at least four separate occasions. At a seminar at the Liverpool Medical Institution in January 1863, the cases presented for discussion included the following:
Dr. Nottingham brought forward a case of extraordinary wound of the penis. He said it was more properly a … Read more
How about this for a lucky escape? It’s the sort of grisly farm accident which might be featured in a medical documentary like 24 Hours in A&E, with one significant difference. Anybody unlucky enough to be impaled by a stake today could expect major surgery and a lengthy hospital stay – but this patient made a total recovery after … Read more