Houses of Death: Walking the Wards of a Victorian Hospital

The following blog post relates to my forthcoming book THE BUTCHERING ART, which you can pre-order here.  Today, we think of the hospital as an exemplar of sanitation. However, during the first half of the nineteenth century, hospitals were anything but hygienic. They were breeding grounds for infection and provided only the most primitive facilities for the sick and […]

Pre-Order My Book! The Butchering Art

I’m thrilled to reveal the cover for the US edition of my forthcoming book, THE BUTCHERING ART, which will be published by FSG on October 17th. The book delves into the grisly world of Victorian surgery and transports the reader to a period when a broken leg could result in amputation, when giving birth in a […]

The Chimp & The Surgeon: A History of Heart Transplants

Today isn’t just Valentine’s Day. It’s also the end of Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week. With that in mind, here’s a short piece on the history of heart transplants. When Boyd Rush, aged 68, was admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center on 23 January 1964, Dr James Hardy [below] was waiting for him. […]

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 […]

Ten Terrifying Knives from Medical History

I’m excited to announce that I’ve just finished filming the first episode of my new YouTube series, Under The Knife, and will be releasing it very soon (please subscribe to my channel for video updates). Unsurprisingly, that got me thinking about, well, knives. Here’s a list of some rather terrifying knives from our medical past. VALENTIN […]

WARNING: TOXIC! The Deadly Dead

When a person thinks of anatomical specimens from the past, he or she may think of disembodied remains floating in glass jars filled with alcohol. The Hunterian Collection at the Royal College of Surgeons in London is full of such specimens—unborn foetuses suspended in time as if still incubating in the womb; a hand, puffy […]