Tag Archives: Civil War

Albert C. Barnes, MD: the physician who spun silver into gold

Sylvia R. Karasu New York, New York, United States   Argyrol, the compound developed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Dr. Hermann Hille to treat ophthalmia neonatorum, a conjunctivitis that led to blindness in newborns then caused by gram-negative gonococcus bacteria. Infection was contracted from mothers during vaginal delivery. Credit: Argyrol bottle, c. 1902-1907, Barnes […]

Harvey Cushing: Surgeon, Author, Soldier, Historian 1869-1939

John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Harvey Williams Cushing. Photograph by W.(?)W.B. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Harvey Cushing was a third-generation physician, born to a family of New England Puritans who had migrated to Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid 1830s. His father and grandfather were successful physicians; family members on both […]

Samuel Mudd MD: Good Samaritan or conspirator?

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1 Samuel A. Mudd, MD. Wikimedia. As he rose in the Washington, D.C. courtroom on June 30, 1865, to hear his verdict, Dr. Samuel Mudd looked older than his thirty-one years (Figure 1). His odobene mustache framed his mouth and his goatee was speckled with prematurely […]

The death of Zachary Taylor: the first presidential assassination or a bad bowl of cherries?

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1: Senator Foote pulling a revolver on Senator Benton on Senate Floor. The quote above Benson’s head reads, “Get out of the way and let the assassin fire! Let the scoundrel use his weapon! I have no arm’s(sic) I didn’t come here to assassinate.” Library of […]

First principles

Charles G. Kels San Antonio, Texas, United States   Ambulance Corps. Method of removing wounded from the field depicts the aftermath of battle in the American Civil War. The law of war is enshrined in treaties but steeped in blood. In 1859, a young Swiss businessman was traveling through Italy when a savage battle between […]

African American medical pioneers

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   The road for African Americans in the medical professions has not been easy. Enslaved Africans received no education.1 During the first half of the nineteenth-century medical schools in the North would admit only a very small number of black students. Even after the Civil War, African Americans continued […]

Battle of Gettysburg

Reed Brockway Bontecou (1824-1907) was an American surgeon from Troy, New York, who in 1846 made a trip up the Amazon river to collect flora and fauna for the local natural history museum, and whose surgical feats include the first successful ligation of a traumatic aneurysm of the axillary artery in America (1857) and the […]

Hammond, Lincoln, and the emergence of American neurology

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, USA   Surgeon General William A. Hammond (public domain) All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. -William Shakespeare Shakespeare’s words describe the extraordinary life of William Alexander Hammond.1-8 […]

Those eyes

Susan Woldenberg Butler Canberra, Australia   Publication Acknowledgement: This fictional short story was published in Secrets from the Black Bag (Royal College of General Practitioners Publications; London, December, 2005). I’ve always involved myself in the lives of my patients and their families. Familiarity with context helps me to provide better treatment and nourishes such mental […]