The Early Modern Commons

Search Results for "Horrifying operations"

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Your search for posts with tags containing Horrifying operations found 53 posts

The stone bullet

In 1829 a surgeon from Wolverhampton, William Lewis, contributed this unusual surgical tale to The Lancet: John Roden, a boy about 11 years of age, (of the Deanery-row,) of a spare habit and pale complexion, received a shot wound on the...
From: Thomas Morris on 4 Jun 2019

Bruit force

Committee reports aren’t exactly famed for their entertainment value. But while leafing through the 1850 volume of the Transactions of the American Medical Association I found one that contained an unexpected gem: Buried deep within this lengthy...
From: Thomas Morris on 26 May 2019

A watch spring, a bean and a clove of garlic

An 1868 issue of a French journal, the Bulletin général de thérapeutique médicale et chirurgical, contains this case report contributed by Paul Pamard, chief of surgery at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Avignon. Pamard was unusual...
From: Thomas Morris on 2 Apr 2019

Britain’s first heart surgeon

Earlier today I was interviewed on TalkRadio about a man I believe to have been Britain’s first heart surgeon – an exciting discovery I made a few months ago. Listen to my conversation with Paul Ross here: When I wrote my history of cardiac...
From: Thomas Morris on 26 Feb 2019

The first caesarean in Ireland

Caesarean section is now the most commonly performed major operation in many parts of the world. A study published in The Lancet a few months ago estimated that around 30 million caesareans take place worldwide every year; in the UK over a quarter of...
From: Thomas Morris on 8 Feb 2019

Eighth time lucky

You may be familiar with this dramatic photo, which has been doing the rounds recently on social media (mainly thanks to Lindsey Fitzharris – @drlindseyfitz on Twitter – if you’re not following her, you should be) It shows Leonid Ivanovich...
From: Thomas Morris on 18 Jan 2019

The spoon swallower

Here’s an intriguing snippet reported by the Paris correspondent of the Lancet in September 1882: We have now a patient in the Lariboisiere Hospital who has been operated on by Dr. Felizet for the removal of a spoon from the stomach. The patient...
From: Thomas Morris on 17 Dec 2018

Odds bodkins

This fascinating case report was published in the Philosophical Transactions in 1701, contributed by a distinguished Dublin physician, Thomas Molyneux. It is notable both for the unusual nature of the injury, and for the remarkably sophisticated...
From: Thomas Morris on 13 Dec 2018

“Oh, I’ll tell you another time”

In 1811 the novelist Fanny Burney underwent a mastectomy for suspected breast cancer. The operation was a total success: she lived for another 28 years without any recurrence of the tumour. Burney recorded her experience in a searing letter to her sister...
From: Thomas Morris on 20 Jul 2018

An unusual method

At the 1887 Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association a surgeon from Sunderland, James Murphy, walked on stage brandishing a testicle. It was an arresting entrance, but no gimmick: he had a highly unusual story to tell. It concerned a patient...
From: Thomas Morris on 12 Jul 2018

Finish what you started

In 1847, at a meeting of the Paris Medical Society, Dr Jean-Baptiste Pigné gave a short talk about cancer. Pigné was the nephew of the great French surgeon Guillaume Dupuytren, and had been appointed curator of the pathological museum founded...
From: Thomas Morris on 22 May 2018

Extraordinary and probably unique

This blog has previously included a few cases in which a patient performed surgery on their own body.  One of my favourites is the story of Colonel Martin, who found an ingenious way to reduce the size of a bladder stone, inserting a file up his...
From: Thomas Morris on 18 May 2018

A curious surgical case

In 1846 John Kyle, a surgeon from the Ohio village of Cedarville, submitted the following case report to The Western Lancet.  The headline gives some indication of the unusual nature of the circumstances: In the spring of 1846 I was called to see...
From: Thomas Morris on 16 May 2018

More than common danger

Sir Astley Cooper was the best known, and best paid, surgeon in early nineteenth-century London. He was a great innovator in the field of vascular surgery, devising new methods of treatment for aneurysms and other conditions of the blood vessels. His...
From: Thomas Morris on 18 Apr 2018

The ear drill

You’ve heard of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut; but what about a drill (or rather two drills) to crack a cherry stone? That is exactly what took place at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Paris in 1833. The surgeon responsible was the great...
From: Thomas Morris on 14 Feb 2018

A harrowing incident

In 1873 the Chicago Medical Journal published this article by a Dr Stewart from Muscatine, a small Iowa town on the banks of the Mississippi that would later become famous as the world-leading manufacturer of pearl buttons. The article’s matter-of-fact...
From: Thomas Morris on 8 Jan 2018

The foot-long bladder stone

This short article appeared in a Norfolk local newspaper, the Norwich Gazette, on June 7th 1746: On Sunday last was cut for the stone by Mr. John Harmer, John Howse, gardener, from Porland, aged 49, from whom he extracted a stone of a prodigious magnitude,...
From: Thomas Morris on 8 Dec 2017

The accidental hysterectomy

In 1840 one Dr Drane, a physician from Louisville in Kentucky, wrote a short communication to the Western Journal of Medicine and Surgery. The editor was astonished, commenting that the case was “unique in the annals of obstetric medicine”....
From: Thomas Morris on 11 Oct 2017

Fifty years ahead of his time

I’m writing this post on the 122nd anniversary of the first attempt at heart surgery, which took place in Norway on September 4th 1895. The surgeon, Axel Cappelen, opened the chest of a man who had been stabbed, and sutured his lacerated heart muscle....
From: Thomas Morris on 4 Sep 2017

The boy who choked on his gold

I came across this interesting story in the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris, a collection of cases published in English in 1750. Until I looked into it more thoroughly I didn’t realise that this is not just a curiosity but a genuinely...
From: Thomas Morris on 22 Aug 2017

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