Tag Archives: 17th century

Justine Siegemund, opening doorways to midwifery

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Portrait of Justine Siegemund by Georg Paul Busch. 1690-1756 (circa). © The Trustees of the British Museum CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 In the mid-1600s, midwife Justine Siegemund was a household name for mothers in Silesia, part of modern-day Poland. She served patients of every class in Legnica, in Berlin, and […]

COVID-19 and 1665: learning from Daniel Defoe

Brian Birch Southampton, Hampshire, UK   London plague victims being buried in 1665, one of nine scenes from John Dunstall’s Plague broadsheet (1666). Credit: Wellcome Collection.  (CC BY 4.0) Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an account of the 1665 Great Plague of London. Based on eyewitness experience, the undersigned initials “H. F.” […]

Hemodialysis treatment for schizophrenia?

Nicolas Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Jean-Baptiste Denys (1643–1704). Via Wikimedia Public Domain. “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did, and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.” Mary W. Shelley, Frankenstein (The Modern Prometheus)   […]

Giorgio Baglivi and The Practice of Physick

James A. Marcum Waco, Texas, United States   Figure 1. Illustration of Giorgio Baglivi from The Practice of Physick by Giorgio Baglivi. Scan courtesy of James A. Marcum “To form a right Judgment of Diseases, is a very difficult Matter.” With this opening sentence, Giorgio Baglivi (Figure 1) began his 1696 treatise De Praxi Medica, […]

Book Review of Island Dreams: Mapping an Obsession

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of Island Dreams: Mapping an Obsession by Gavin Francis. Gavin Francis is a Scottish doctor, author, and traveler who has worked in emergency medicine, family medicine, and as the resident doctor for the Antarctic survey, which resulted in a previous book. His wanderlust and way with words […]

Pink and yellow

Govind Krishnan Durham, North Carolina, United States   The Magpie by Claude Monet. 1868 – 1869. Musée d’Orsay. Via Wikimedia  I am wearing pink, I have a rosy glow My breaths are even, measured, slow The doctors come and go. Come and go. Come and go. But sometimes they mutter, their heads bowed low. And […]

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and smallpox

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. A painting of Mary Wortley Montagu by Jonathan Richardson the Younger. Via Wikimedia. There are few examples of people with no medical training who independently make significant advances in medical practice. One such person was the elegant, aristocratic Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762)—daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke […]

Bloodletting and the treatment of menstrual disorders in early modern England

Rhianna Elliott Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom   Figure 1. Title page: Culpeper’s school of physick (London, 1659). Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY. Source Bloodletting, also known as “phlebotomy,” was a common preventive and therapeutic medical practice in early modern England. Its theoretical foundation was in humorism, the ancient medical system where bodily health depended on the […]

Control of blood

E. C. Spary United Kingdom Figure 1. Blood spurting from the neck of a decapitated human sacrifice in this bas-relief on the wall of this Mayan temple at Chichen Itza (Yucatan, Mexico) transforms into snakes, indicating its connection to power, life and death. Blood, that vivid liquid within our bodies, has an attraction for human […]