Tag Archives: Oliver Wendell Holmes

Pushing back at perceptions of epilepsy: the interplay between medicine and literature in three 19th-century British novels

Laura Fitzpatrick New York, United States If I wished to show a student the difficulties of getting at truth from medical experience, I would give him the history of epilepsy to read. —Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1891.1 As the nineteenth century dawned, the average Briton still understood epilepsy much in the way his ancient Greek counterpart […]

Alexander Gordon and puerperal fever

C. John Scott Aberdeen, Scotland     Plaque on Gordon’s house in Aberdeen The epidemic of childbed (puerperal) fever that struck the city of Aberdeen, Scotland, between December 1789 and March 1792 was unusual. It occurred not in the dirty, crowded, and ill-ventilated wards of lying-in hospitals, but throughout the city and surrounding villages. Serendipitously, […]