Tag Archives: Summer 2014

Medical murder

Susan Jacob Australia   Archangel Michael reaching to save souls in purgatory, 17th century, Jacopo Vignali Medical murder or clinicide is defined by the psychiatrist Robert Kaplan as the “unnatural death of multiple patients in the course of treatment by a doctor.”1 Medical murder must be distinguished from euthanasia in that patients do not request the termination […]

The Lunar Society legacy

JMS Pearce United Kingdom   Mention “Lunar Society” and most academics will stare vacantly, despite the society’s fame during the eighteenth century. Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802), grandfather of Charles Darwin, was a founder of the Lunar Society in Birmingham (c. 1765–c. 1800), which counted several physicians in its numbers. The original “Lunarmen” comprised a select club, […]

Who do I look like?

Farrin A. Manian Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Photo of Geraldo Rivera by John Brian Silverio As physicians, we are often valued by our patients for our compassion, medical knowledge, and skills in managing diseases and restoring health. Physical attributes such as facial features are not supposed to have an appreciable impact on our professional […]

Workhouse to hospital

Orla McAlinden Kildare, Ireland   Carleton House Carleton House, in Portadown, in the heart of Northern Ireland, was built as the townhouse dwelling of George Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, sixth Duke of Manchester. It is an imposing, three-story Georgian building on the Armagh Road, opposite a long stretch of terraced red-brick housing unimaginatively called Carleton Street. […]


Mary V. Seeman Toronto, Canada Małgorzata Grochowina Warsaw, Poland   Photography by nijanulu – KNOBZ.NET In 1938, there were 14,000 psychiatric beds in Poland, distributed over thirty-one institutions. One of these institutions was Zofiówka, dedicated to the care of Jewish patients with nervous and mental illness.1 It was opened in 1908 thanks to a donation by Zofia […]

Beauty is everywhere: looking at our hospital with new eyes

Giorgina Piccoli Gilberto Richiero Torino, Italy   What happened when an artist walked down the corridors of a conventional, rather undistinguished fifty-year-old hospital that was neither ancient nor famous and looked for beauty? He found it. For beauty is everywhere and everybody needs it. It is in the eye of the beholder, a truism now […]

Byzantium: Origin of the modern hospital

According to most historians, the modern hospital as we know it today traces its origins to the eastern part of the Roman Empire, the part that after the final partition of the Empire by Theodosius the Great (AD 395) became the Byzantine Empire. Research into the history of the hospitals has been difficult, because only […]

Missing history on a daily basis: working in an old hospital without paying attention

Christopher Frank Ontario, Canada   Kingston General Hospital in 1858 I live in an old city by North American standards. I love walking through the Victorian parts of town, which have limestone buildings and hidden courtyards. However, I never gave much thought to the historical significance of the Kingston General (KGH), the hospital I go […]

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 […]

Casanova: Patient Zero and other insights into sexual health in the 1700s

Beth Jarosz Washington, DC, United States   Portrait of Giacomo Casanova, 18th century Moscow State Historical Museum, Russia Giacomo Casanova, the infamous rake, is responsible for providing historians and anthropologists with a veritable treasure trove of historical health information. His life spanned from 1725 to 1798, and his memoir, Histoire de Ma Vie, recounts nearly […]