Tag Archives: 19th century

“Gentlemen! This is no humbug.”

Summer A. Niazi Jack E. Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States   First Operation Under Ether, by Robert C. Hinckley, Boston Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, 1882-1893 (Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology) Source The words “Gentlemen! This is no humbug” is one of the most famous statements in the history of […]

Book review of A Brief History of Ayurveda

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   A Brief History of Ayurveda by M.R. Raghava Varier Ayurveda translates from the Sanskrit as “the science of life and longevity.” It originated over 4,000 years ago as a system of healing in the Indian subcontinent, where it flourished until the nineteenth century. The Harappan civilization in the Indus […]

Absinthe: the green fairy

Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Green Muse. Albert Maignan. 1895. Via Wikimedia Commons “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing […]

The first effective chemotherapy for cancer

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Caution: Chemotherapy. Photo by Justin Levy. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0   Sulfur mustard gas had no influence on the outcome of the battle at Ypres during World War I despite the many deaths and severe injuries it inflicted. Since then, chemical weapons have been used in […]

William Osler: clinician and teacher with a pediatric interest

Göran Wettrell Lund, Sweden   Figure 1. Sir William Osler in Oxford, photo presented by Lady Osler. Sir William Osler has been described as one of the greatest physicians of his time, especially known for his bedside medicine and teaching (Figure 1). He has also been characterized as “a pediatric-minded worker within the widespread wine-yard […]

Sergei Rachmaninoff: the dichotomy of life and music

Michael Yafi Chaden Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Rachmaninoff. Photo by Bain News Service. between ca. 1915 and ca. 1920. Library of Congress Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), a Russian composer, was known for having very large hands. With a span that covered twelve white keys on the keyboard (the interval of a thirteenth), he could […]

Carlos J. Finlay: the mosquito man

Enrique Chaves-Carballo Kansas City, Kansas, United States   Portrait Dr. Carlos J. Finlay. From Images History of Medicine (IHM), National Library of Medicine. Carlos Juan Finlay was born in Puerto Príncipe (now Camagüey), Cuba, on December 3, 1833. He was sent to Europe to complete his secondary education but was forced to return to Cuba […]

William Marsden, surgeon and founder of the Royal Free and Royal Marsden Hospitals, London

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Portrait of William Marsden by Thomas Illidge 1850. Picture in public domain. Source To found one hospital is a fairly unusual achievement; to found two is a rare feat indeed. William Marsden, a nineteenth-century British doctor, founded both the Royal Free Hospital and the Royal Cancer Hospital (now known […]

Thomas Young MD FRS (1773-1829): “The Last Man Who Knew Everything.”

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Thomas Young. Mezzotint by G. R. Ward, 1855, after Sir T. Lawrence. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) It is impossible to place precisely Thomas Young (Fig 1) into any professional class. He was both physician and scientist, renowned for an astonishing range of […]

Roget and his Thesaurus

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869). William. Drummond, after Eden Upton Eddis. c.1830s. Credit National Portrait Gallery  There was much more to Peter Mark Roget (1779–1869)(Fig 1) than his indispensable Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Fig 2).1 But little is remembered of his illustrious career in medicine and […]