Eels seem to have featured regularly in this blog, for some reason. First there was the physician who had a shocking experience with an electric eel, and more recently we’ve had the dubious tale of the boy with an eel in his stomach.
Here’s another story involving an ingested eel, and much more besides. In 1826 The London Medical … Read more
In September 1842 a young man called William Howard went to the army recruiting depot at Coventry, hoping to join the 35th Infantry Regiment. As is usual on these occasions, he was examined by the medical officer, one Dr Macann. The good doctor had a surprise in store, as he later reported to the Provincial Medical Journal and Retrospect … Read more
As regular readers of this blog may be aware, early medical journals often carried tales of unlikely creatures found living inside the human body. Examples include beetles found in the bladder, millipedes and winged insects in the stomach, and the curious case of the girl with spiders in her eyes.
This is, however, the only case I’ve found which … Read more
In 1847 a Dr Mervin Coates wrote to The Lancet to tell them a funny story, an unusual case which he came across in his practice on the Isle of Wight:
In the summer of 1846, being myself absent from home, a friend was called upon to attend an old, poor man, who had suffered for some days from severe … Read more
Here’s a spectacular head injury (and recovery) reported in the Transactions of the Wisconsin State Medical Society in 1869. This lucky, lucky man survived an accident which left him with a large portion of his brain hanging out of his skull. The unusual case was reported by Dr Linde of Oshkosh, Wisconsin – a city perhaps best known today as … Read more
In June 1879 the Chicago Telegraph made quite a splash with a story published under this headline:
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