The most interesting thing about the myth of tear catchers is that it is totally believable considering that mourning was an outward artistic social expression to the Victorians.
The Red Market: Illegal Organ Trafficking
Although science has reached far beyond the capabilities of our wildest imaginations, it is still not yet possible for laboratories to perfectly replicate the intricate inner workings of our bodies, forcing us to rely on human donors for the gift of life.
Goat Testicles for Virility: John R. Brinkley
Between 1917 and the mid-1930s, John Brinkley made a fortune on his “revolutionary” surgical procedure which involved placing goat testicles into men’s scrotums to cure infertility and improve virility. What a BAAAHHH-d idea
Surgery Without Anesthesia: Babies Can’t Feel Pain?
Prior to the 1980s, many medical professionals believed that babies could not feel pain, therefore, medical procedures performed on infants took place without the use of anesthesia.
Images from the Dissection Room
At first glance, these images from a bygone time are gruesome and jarring. Dismantled corpses with a thousand-yard stare looking past the camera while groups of men and women gathered around with tools in their hands, pipes in their mouths, and open anatomy books.
The Colorado Brown Stain: Fluorosis
Let’s talk about how the brown stains on the teeth of Colorado Springs residents helped reform cavity prevention.
Performing a Cesarean Section on His Own Wife: Dr. Jesse Bennett
Historically, most c-sections were performed for one main purpose, to save the baby. Mothers were expected to die from shock or complications resulting from infection.
Dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, November 19, 1863
Even though the events that gave Gettysburg its fame occurred 158 years ago, the loss remains poignant and the message of sacrifice and liberty still heard.
Excavating Bladder Stones with Knitting Needles
The Lithotomy was described as far back as the 1st century A.D. by Greek physicians. The procedure only required three main tools, the knife, a hook, and a pair of forceps.
Spectacles of the Real: Public Morgues
Morgues or mortuaries are used today as storage sites for our corpses, keeping them as fresh as possible until disposal. Less commonly known though is the origins behind the word. The word comes from the French word, morguer, which means “to stare”.
Judging a Book by its Cover: Anthropodermic Bibliopegy
Quite a few medical books exist that are bound in human skin. This makes sense since doctors would have had regular access to skin from deceased patients.
Remembering the Merit of Women: Elizabeth Thorn
While the battle raged on around them, many of the women living in Gettysburg in 1863 left their cellars and found ways to courageously serve humanity.
The Aftermath of a Mistake: Wrong-Site Surgery
Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient surgical mishaps, although infrequent, do still occur in the 21st century.
Killer Wallpaper: A Green to Die For
The Victorians did not shy away from bright colors and patterns in their homes, and they were certainly unaware that some of those home design choices could cost them their lives.
The Virginia Quickstep: Diarrhea and Dysentery in the Civil War
Records are imperfect, and most Confederate records destroyed, it is estimated that 44,500 Union soldiers died of either diarrhea or dysentery.
Losing Their Left Legs: The Walker Brothers of North Carolina
What is the likelihood that two brothers would be forced to undergo amputation of their left legs in the same spot just a few weeks apart from one another?
The wound That Took 50 Years to Kill Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the infamous college professor turned war hero, helped advance catheterization methods after he was wounded at Petersburg in 1864.
Bloomer Suits and a Medal of Honor: Dr. Mary Edwards Walker
Mary Edwards Walker, a progressive woman from New York, managed to kick down barriers throughout her lifetime, and she did so wearing bloomer suits.
Dead Except to Pain: Phantom Limb Phenomenon
An estimated 60,000+ amputations occurred over the course of the Civil War, leaving men maimed and forever physically altered. Due to the high levels of amputations that took place in field hospitals across the country, it was during this time that medical professionals began really documenting instances of phantom limb.
Remembering Jonathan Letterman
Dr. Letterman’s story, despite his importance to the field of military medicine, has been largely, forgotten. I hope that this post changes that.