Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Get your Goat

This history of medicine would be quite drab without the enormous rollcall of quacks and charlatans.  Sometimes the stories are so bizarre it's hard to believe they are true.  Today's self styled "doctor" is no exception.

Dr. John Romulus Brinkley (later to become John Richard Brinkley) lived from 1885-1942.  The son of a man who practiced as a medic in North Carolina during the Civil war, his father was married four times legally and had one other marriage that was anulled because John Brinkley Snr was underaged at the time.  John Jnr himself was born out of wedlock, to the niece of his father's current wife.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alice Bunker Stockham and Tokology

One of the nurses at work, knowing my love for all things medical and historical decided to loan me a book.

Tokology: A book for every woman was authored by Alice Bunker Stockham  (1833-1912)  in 1886 (although I believe this copy is almost certainly a later edition.  It is essentially a guide for the layman about pregnancy and women's health.  Stockham is an utterly intriguing character.  An obstetrician and gynaecologist from Chicago, she was only the fifth woman to be made a doctor in the United States.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I must apologise for her long sabbatical.  I have been off studying for, sitting and ultimately passing my examinations. (I then had a very long rest!).

To celebrate my return to the realm of blogging I bring you the following image:

(The above image was sourced from the national library of medicine.  It was taken by WHO photographer D. Henrioud).

The above image is undated but believed to be several centuries old and found on the wall of a museum in Shanghai.  It depicts students in the field of acupuncture being trained on a model.  Correct insertion of the needle would find the student hitting wax.  Incorrect and a stream of water would be emitted. 

I am not a student of acupuncture but I appreciate the stress of a clinical examination, no matter the century!