A previous post about the boy who vomited millipedes proved surprisingly popular – so when I came across this tale of a girl who cried spiders it seemed too good to waste.
On February 5th 1840, Dr Lopez, a physician from Mobile, Alabama, visited a young woman in Charleston. The previous week she had been staying with friends in … Read more
Compulsive swallowers have always featured heavily in medical literature. There are numerous cases in 19th-century journals – but most of the individuals concerned were obviously suffering from some kind of mental illness. This, from the Medico-Chirurgical Transactions for 1823, is the first I’ve come across in which the patient was swallowing knives for a laugh.
In the month … Read more
On the 14th of May, 1867, Dr Jewett of Summit County, Ohio, was called to see Joel Lenn, 27, a French coal miner, who had suffered a serious injury.
While blasting coal in the works of Messrs. Cross & Payne, near this village, the blasting barrel (a 5/8 inch gas pipe four feet in length) struck him near the external … Read more
Here’s a painful tale from The Journal of Foreign Medical Science and Literature, published in 1823: not for children or the squeamish – and likely to make men in particular wince.
On March 17th 1822 Thomas Calloway, a London surgeon, was asked to visit a ‘healthy, muscular’ man aged 44:
On Saturday night, the 8th of March, he came … Read more
The New-Orleans Medical Journal for 1844 contains this tale of a lucky escape, an ingenious doctor and a very naughty grandson:
In the summer of 1837. Mrs. * * * was enjoying her usual siesta, in the afternoon of a warm day, on a pallet spread upon the floor in a cool part of the house :—and while she was … Read more
On the first day of the Ashes Test at Lord’s, here is a cricketing curiosity – a Romantic poet picking up an injury in the winter nets. And evidence that the team physio of the early 19th century always kept the leeches handy.
On Sunday 14th February, 1819, the poet John Keats sat down to write to his brother … Read more
One of the things that all first-aiders should know is that blades or other penetrating objects should never be removed from a stab wound. Extraction should only be attempted by medical professionals in appropriate surroundings, since catastrophic blood loss may otherwise occur.
Those with a background in emergency medicine would doubtless wince at the treatment given to a patient in … Read more
If you’ve ever shared a house with a habitual sleepwalker, you may be familiar with the strange experience of having a conversation at 2 am with somebody who is fast asleep. One of my sisters went through a sleepwalking phase in childhood, and we soon became used to guiding her back to her bedroom, while saving the weirdest of her … Read more
On June 29th 1865 Jacques Roellinger, a private in ‘B’ Company of the New York Volunteers, asked to be released from military service. When he appeared before an army board to make his case for a pension, he told the officers that three years earlier, in the early stages of the Civil War, he had been present at the … Read more
In 1829 a fifty-year-old labourer, John Marsh, was knocked down and run over by a cart laden with bricks. He was conveyed to Winchester County Hospital, where the doctor who examined him recorded that
his scrotum, on inspection, was found to be of most enormous size, extending two thirds downwards between the thighs, and measuring in circumference seventeen inches; its … Read more