Tag Archives: Vignette

Grand rounds

André Brouillet illustration of “Une leçon clinique à la Salpêtrière.” In the days when medical teaching took place mainly at the bedside, grand rounds were the accepted method by which rare or interesting cases were demonstrated to the entire hospital staff. It was a tradition that went back at least to the days of the […]

Sarah Gamp: precursor of the nursing profession

Illustration of Mrs. Gamp by Frederick Barnard. From The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Before the reforms introduced by Florence Nightingale, the nursing profession was exemplified by women such as the famous Sarah (Sairey) Gamp of Charles Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit. Described as a fat woman with a […]

An avalanche of white tissues

Gail Ghai Sarasota, Florida, United States   Avalanche by Robert Qualters. Mixed media painting and drawing, 2022. Courtesy of artist. He gives me a golden pearl to vanquish the sputtering sputum cough. A red tablet to quell the scarlet flushing, and an ivory capsule to squash the bronchial terrorists that have invaded the walls of […]

Piano lessons

James Stemmle West Virginia, United States   Watercolor by author. The piano teacher was angry, irritable, incontinent, and in pain. Dying of cancer, she eventually went home with hospice care. The hospice lady asked, “What would a good day look like?” They rigged things in her home to live at least one good day: a […]

Wilhelm Baum (1799–1883)

Wilhelm Baum. Photograph of painting by Wilhelm Title. Uploaded by Mehlauge. Via Wikimedia. Postgraduate medical education in the nineteenth century required personal contact with the masters of the profession – working and rounding with them, or at least listening to their lectures. Thus the German surgeon Wilhelm Baum spent one year after obtaining his doctorate […]

Mary Putnam Jacobi, advocate for women in society and medicine

Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi (1842-1906) was born in London to American parents. She spent her childhood and adolescence in New York, where she studied pharmacy before receiving her medical degree in Philadelphia in 1861. In 1866, after briefly working in Boston with Marie Zakrzewska,1 she went to Paris to further her medical training. Back in New […]

William Bell: photographed injured veterans

William Bell was a veteran of the American Civil War who fought at Antietam and Gettysburg, and became chief photographer of the Army Medical Museum in Washington. He took photographs of injured soldiers as part of a project to document the range of injuries among veterans. On the left, the solider is cleverly posed in […]

Georg Bartisch, early Renaissance eye-surgeon

Georg Bartisch (1535–1607) became an apprentice to a barber-surgeon at age thirteen, followed by two additional apprenticeships to an oculist and a lithotomist. He worked as itinerant surgeon in Germany and Bohemia, but eventually become court oculist to Duke Augustus I of Saxony in Dresden. A highly superstitious man, he believed in astronomy and witchcraft, […]

Scoliosis

Augusta Zetterling was one of the first women in Sweden to make a living as a photographer. This photo is from a series she took of women and girls with a curvature of the spine called scoliosis. Whereas mild cases of scoliosis may have little effect on a patient’s life, more severe cases can cause […]

Ether dome

The first operation using ether as anesthesia took place in 1846. This daguerreotype is not of that operation, but rather is a recreation of the event. The patient is unknown, but the surgeons include John Mason Warren, John Collins Warren, George Hayward, and Solomon D. Townsend. Following the first use of ether, the operating theater […]