Under The Knife – Reboot!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MBNgVKIREE] It’s been 18 months since I’ve filmed an episode of my YouTube series, Under The Knife. But that ends today! Check out the trailer to the series reboot, which may or may not involve my severed head. A NEW episode is coming next week. If you haven’t subscribed to the channel, please do. You’ll […]

The Medicalization of Death in History

When the Black Death swept through Europe in the 14th century, it claimed the lives of over 75 million people, many of who were clergymen whose job it was to help usher the dying into the next world. In response to the shortage of priests, the Ars Moriendi (Art of Dying) first emerged in 1415. […]

“Limbs Not Yet Rigid” – A History of Dissecting the Living

Several years ago, the news reported a story that could have come straight from the script of a horror movie. In October 2009, Colleen S. Burns was admitted to St Joseph’s Hospital Center in New York for a drug overdose. A short time later, a team of doctors pronounced the 39-year-old woman dead. Her family was notified and Burns’s body was prepped for organ donation.

The only problem was: Burns wasn’t actually dead.

Resurrecting the Body Snatchers: The Halloween Edition

I’ve written about body snatchers several times on this site, and each time, readers ask for more. Given that it’s Halloween, I thought I would give into that request and return to the subject in a longer, more comprehensive article about these fascinating creatures from the early 19th century. Happy Halloween! It is half past […]

1 Million Hits!

I’m thrilled to announce that The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice has just surpassed 1 million hits. Wow, what a journey it’s been! I’m constantly surprised by the interest this site generates each and every year, and am deeply grateful to you, my readers, for your continued love of medical history. In honour of this milestone, I’ve put together some […]

The Anaesthetized Queen & the Path to Painless Childbirth

‘Did the epidural hurt?’ I ask Rebecca Rideal—editor of The History Vault—one morning as we sit outside the British Library. ‘Not really.’ She hesitates, clearly wanting to say more without divulging too much information. ‘I mean, it’s nothing compared to the labour pains. The hardest part was lying still while the anaesthesiologist administered the needle.’ […]

Being a Medical History Blogger

The year was 2010. I had just completed 9 years of university education which culminated in a PhD from the University of Oxford in the History of Science, Medicine & Technology; and I was about to start a 3-year postdoctoral research fellowship with the Wellcome Trust. I was on top of the world, academically-speaking. Yet, for me, there […]

The Syphilitic Whores of Georgian London

People think I’m obsessed with syphilis, and maybe I am. But it’s only because of my recent indoctrination into 18th-century history by aficionados of the period, such as Lucy Inglis, Adrian Teal and Rob Lucas.  I can’t read 10 pages of a medical casebook without coming across a reference to lues venerea. By the end […]