A few days ago I was reading an article about foreign bodies in the bladder – for what better way to while away a dull afternoon? In 1897 a doctor from Philadelphia, Francis Packard, wrote an analysis of more than 200 cases, all of which had been published in medical journals in the preceding fifty years. The range of objects … Read more
Sometimes a headline says it all. In June 1842 the London Medical Gazette printed a letter under this memorable title:
The case report that followed was submitted by a retired naval surgeon called Archibald Blacklock (previously featured on this blog, and best known as the man who crept into Robert Burns’s tomb one night in 1834 and took a … Read more
Here’s a striking report from The London Medical and Surgical Journal, originally published in March 1837. The headline is straightforward enough:
Two remarkable cases of this kind I have had an opportunity of seeing weekly, for twelve months. The first occurred at Manchester; the second was in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, under the auspices of Mr. — , and both … Read more
During a meeting of the New York Pathological Society in 1872, a local physician called Dr Post gave a short talk about one of his patients, who had discovered a highly novel method of injuring himself:
On the 9th August, 1872, I was requested to see Mr. B., a young man 19 years of age, who, about four months before, … Read more
Mercer’s Hospital, founded in 1734, was for many years one of the most important teaching hospitals in Ireland – but it is perhaps most readily associated today with a piece of music. In 1742 the first performance of Handel’s Messiah took place in Dublin in a fundraising concert for local charities – Mercer’s Hospital among them.
In 1869 The Medical … Read more
August is sometimes known as the ‘silly season’: a period of the year when little seems to be happening, politics grinds to a halt, and newspaper editors are forced to publish nonsense they wouldn’t even consider putting into print at other times of the year.
This story, from an 1844 edition of a French journal, the Gazette des hôpitaux civils … Read more
The French surgeon Jean Civiale was one of the most significant figures in the history of urology, the branch of medicine dedicated to the urinary (and male reproductive) systems. In the 1820s he devised the technique of lithotripsy to treat bladder stones, the first minimally invasive surgical procedure. Until then, the only way to remove such stones had been to … Read more
In 1863 a surgeon from the small German town of Gräfenhainichen, Herr Geissler, wrote to one of the Berlin journals to share an extraordinary tale he had encountered in his practice. The publication to which he submitted the case Monatsschrift für Geburtskunde und Frauenkrankheiten, was devoted to gynaecology and obstetrics and indeed this story is about childbirth – though … Read more
Some of the greatest advances in nineteenth-century surgery were made by military surgeons. British surgeons were not exactly short of opportunities: the country’s military forces began the century at war with France, and ended it fighting the Boers, with barely a peaceful year in between. While battlefield injuries provided horribly frequent opportunities for improving surgical techniques, not every wound was … Read more
One of the most popular stories on this blog is that of the nineteenth-century Frenchman who cut his own penis in two for sexual gratification. If you type the keywords ‘man cut penis two’ into pretty much any search engine, it’s the top hit – on the entire internet. If that’s not success, I don’t know what is.
That … Read more