Tag Archives: Harvard

Francis Henry Williams: the first American chest radiologist

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Williams performing fluoroscopy of chest. From the book by Williams, which is available on The Wellcome Library. Public domain. Francis Henry Williams was born in Massachusetts on July 15, 1852. His father was a professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Williams graduated in chemistry in 1873 from […]

Derek Ernest Denny-Brown

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1: Image in the public domain. Credit: The National Library of Medicine. Source Amongst the titans of medicine, it is not easy to pick out those whose footprints will not fade with passing time. Derek Denny-Brown (Fig 1) was one. He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. After his […]

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 […]

A history of blood transfusion: a confluence of science—in peace, in war, and in the laboratory

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts   Figure 1- Blood Transfusions -WWI East Sussex. Photo from Wellcome Images.  Accessed 10/15/2019. The rudimentary lights provided only dim illumination of the operative field. The three British army surgeons worked feverishly to save the life of the young soldier, Corporal Smith, who had a significant liver injury. He had […]

Harvard medical school and the body snatchers

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, USA   Figure 1: Woodcut illustration from Fasciculus medicinae (1491) depicting a Lector, Ostensor, and Sector during a dissection Their silhouettes surely would have been seen against the backdrop of a moonlit night in 1796 as they entered the North Burying Ground in Boston. Their hearts were likely filled with […]

Joseph Warren: The forgotten founder

Kevin Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Fig 1 The Leonard Zakim Bridge, Boston “If Warren had lived, Washington would have remained an obscurity.” -Peter Oliver, former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court On June 17, a late spring New England morning, thousands of Bostonians will begin their day by traveling over the Zakim […]

The Massachusetts General Hospital

Andy Hung Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Massachusetts General Hospital Bulfinch Building in 1941 The performance was about to begin. The great glass dome lit up the open center stage with bright skylight. It was October 16, 1846, a time in history when surgeons performed their art before spectators, and the audience was about […]

Citizen Zinsser: portrait of a Renaissance man

Philip R. Liebson In the September 16, 1940 issue of TIME Magazine an intriguing obituary was found: After a patient wait, death came last week to Hans Zinsser, bacteriologist, physician, philosopher, poet, ironist, historian, raconteur. At 61, he died of chronic leukemia, a slow-moving, mysterious disease of the blood for which there is no known […]

Dr. Robert E. Gross and first operations in cardiovascular surgery

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States Robert E. Gross (1905-1988)   There is a myth that Dr. Robert E. Gross (1905-1988), a Harvard surgeon, performed the first cardiovascular surgery. There is no question that he performed the first successful major operation on the great vessels near the heart in which the patient survived, the […]

The Blade

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, USA   The blade slashes through the skin Not in violence But in cure It is held not by an assailant But by a surgeon The same instrument But with such cross purposes As a surgeon, I know the fear and anticipation That proceeds the strike Assailants must feel the […]