CBS News has posted a gripping set of images, mostly of cancer patients, dating to the 1880s. The photos from the Burns Archive are graphic, as much as they’re telling, instructive and rare.
This photograph, taken in New York City in 1886, is one of the earliest ever taken of breast surgery. Surgeons had begun to adopt infection-control measures in the operating room, but at this point they hadn’t yet adopted the use of surgical masks and hats and their surgical gowns were simply put on over their street clothes. The anesthesiologist whose hands are visible holding the patient’s arm on the left side of the frame is wearing street clothes. Anesthesiologists were the last doctors to don surgical clothing in the operating room.
Credit: Dr. Stanley B. Burns, via CBS News
According to its website, the Burns Archive houses the nation’s largest and most comprehensive
See more First Look at the Burns Collection of Early Medical Photographs
Franklin’s story starts like this: She was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in London. She excelled in math and science. She studied physical chemistry at Cambridge, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1941. After performing research in photochemistry in the following year on scholarship, she joined the British Coal Utilisation Research Association (BCURA) and carried out basic investigations on the micro-structure of coal and carbon compounds, and so earned a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. She was a polyglot, and next found herself in Paris at the Laboratoire Central des Services Chimique de l’Etat, where she picked up some fine skills in x-ray crystallography.
You get the picture: she was smart, well-educated and totally immersed in physical chemistry before, during and after WWII. Single-minded and focused, you might say –
See more A Play About the Life and Work of Dr. Rosalind Franklin
Dr. John Snow, an anesthesiologist and founder of public health, recognized the mode of cholera’s spread more than 150 years ago in London, where he became famous for mandating the closure of the Broad Street Pump. Snow died at the age of 45, of what was said to be apoplexy, old jargon for a stroke. In 2009, there were 221,226 cholera cases reported and 4,946 cholera deaths in 45 countries, according to the CDC. Based on information put together by the World Health Organization,
See more Notes on Cholera, Old and New
A student clued me in on an old take on therapeutic phlebotomy: the classic 1978 SNL skit, Theodoric of York (Season 3, episode 18), stars Steve Martin (as the barber, Theodoric of York.). It also features Dan Aykroyd (as William), Gilda Radner (as Broom Gilda), Jane Curtin (as Joan), John Belushi (as a hunchback) and a youthful Bill Murray (as a drunkard).
Theodoric of York
It’s a very funny skit when it’s not too gory, with some insight into the history of medicine.
But it’s also a sad reminder about the early deaths of Belushi, a promising actor who died at 33 years from heroin and cocaine toxicity, and of Radner, a wonderful comedian who died at 42 years from ovarian cancer.
As for modern, therapeutic phlebotomy -
In the U.S. and most other places, trained physicians, nurses and other providers perform this procedure routinely using sterile techniques and
See more Classic Saturday Night Live on Bloodletting, and Barbarism