Dogs have been companions to humans for thousands of years. However, until the second half of the nineteenth century, with the development of the pet industry and beginnings of animal rights, it was perfectly acceptable to allow extreme suffering in animals for medical experiments. One of the earliest accounts of dissecting a sentient animal was in 500 BC when Alcmaeon of Croton severed the optic nerves of live dogs to understand how it affected their vision. From the 1600s, as our understanding of physiology began to accelerate, they have played a vital role in shaping our understanding of our bodies and in developing treatments for a wide range of diseases. For a nation of dog lovers, we owe a huge debt to these animals and the part they have played in many ground-breaking discoveries.
It’s been almost a century since Armistice Day and the end of the horrors of the Great War. Soldiers returned from the front bearing injuries and scars on their bodies. Among the many medical challenges during this period in time was to provide Anaesthesia for those with severe facial injuries. The ‘normal’ technique at the time was to use a wire frame mask held over the nose and mouth, but these facial injuries made it impossible to either use anaesthesia or to do surgery without it. New developments in anaesthesia and surgery were needed. The anaesthetists Ivan Magill (photo) and Stanley Rowbotham together with the surgeon Harold Gillies were the men who rose to the challenge.
Boasting unforgettably eccentric performances from four of horror's most menacing stars, the third installment of Universal's classic Frankenstein series is a majestically macabre chiller. Baron Wolf von Frankenstein is intent on liberating his family name from disgrace by proving the legitimacy of his father's scientific work by reanimating the monster his predecessor killed.
Three hundred years ago in 1718 ‘the Great’ William Cheselden joined St Thomas’ Hospital. Working initially as an Assistant Surgeon, from this time he honed his skills to improve the general surgical treatment of patients. He introduced innovative fast but accurate surgical procedures for lithotomy (the surgical removal of bladder stones); his patients had a 92% chance of survival; he radically undertook iridectomy, inserting an artificial iris to repair damaged eyes, as well as risky procedures on prisoners to restore their hearing.
Today, the body snatchers who crept into the burial grounds of Georgian London to dig up the dead for the anatomy schools of London seem like characters from a dark gothic story. But the body snatchers were not characters from fiction and the lucrative trade in human corpses was real. Hear the real story of London's Resurrection Men, and the anatomy schools they supplied and discover how the development of surgery in the Enlightenment lead to the business of selling the dead.
Although rituals to commune with the dead have been a part of the human experience reaching back through cultures and time immemorial, what has had the strongest foothold in our Western cultural imagination today is that of the Victorian séance. From its roots in the romantic era gothic imagination to fascinations with the boundaries of science, Victorian fringe exploration into the esoteric manifested itself by way of a variety of literary masterpieces and occult societies – the most famous of which was founded by the ‘Wickedest Man in the World’, Aleister Crowley.
This talk will focus on how easy it can be for healthcare practitioners to move from saving lives to doing away with them. The focus will be on Dr Harold Shipman (1946-2004) who killed hundreds of his patients over a 28-year period. Wherever he worked in the NHS – casualty, hospital wards and general practice – Shipman could kill people without anyone apparently noticing. Causing death in the course of treatment, with the intention of deliberately killing people, is known as ‘clinicide’. How common is clinicide? Why does it happen? How can it be incorporated into normal healthcare ‘routines’? And how can it be detected? This talk considers what can be learnt from healthcare serial killers from home and abroad, from fiction and fact.