Did you ever meet Draffin on your travels?

Draffin’s rods or bipods are a well-known ENT instrument. Before their invention in 1951, the attendant anaesthetist or nurse was obliged to support the mouthgag during tonsillectomy. Their originator, David Alexander Draffin (born in 1917 in Ballybey, Co Monaghan), was...

Erwin Geising and the fall of the Third Reich

It’s mid 1944. The allies have landed at Normandy, the Germans have abandoned Rome and are retreating from the Russians on the eastern front. The Fuhrer was in way over his head and out of his depth. Watching this series...

A ‘rye’ tail – the fatal illness of Lord Boringdon, a Regency tragedy

The anonymous privately-printed book, Some Account of Lord Boringdon’s Accident, describes in deferential terms a case of aspiration of a foreign body and its sequelae. Today aspirated foreign bodies are serious but curable injuries; before the invention of the bronchoscope...

Medical Journals and The Journal of Laryngology and Otology

Medical journals have a fascinating history. One early journal, The Lancet, was founded in 1823 and its first Editor, London surgeon Thomas Wakley (1795-1862), had a turbulent life. He lived in an era where quackery was rife and where the...

Vicarious (nasal) menstruation

Hippocrates himself is known to have said that when a woman’s menses are due, but instead of the usual vaginal menstrual flow, she has a haemorrhage from the nose, then this is a sure sign of pregnancy [1]. Artist’s impression...

From Hippocrates to COVID-19: sniffing out the disease

The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, used the ‘art of smell’ to diagnose diseases around 400BC. He also formulated miasmatic theory, which posited that disease is caused by bad smells. Bad air was strongly believed by many physicians to be the...

The fatal illness of Frederick the Noble

Sir Morell Mackenzie is acknowledged as the ‘Father of British Otolaryngology’. He was the leading throat specialist of his time and one of the founders of the Journal of Laryngology and Otology in 1887. He studied in Paris, Vienna and...

Not just the scissors: the story of Myron Metzenbaum

Myron Metzenbaum was born in Cleveland, Ohio (USA) in 1876, the fourth of nine children. As a young man, he worked in the family’s linen store, where his father was well known to be very kind to the less fortunate...

The father of the history of otology

This year marks the centenary of the death of Adam Politzer (1835-1920). He has been described as the Father of Otology [1] and was certainly the most influential person in otology in the latter half of the 19th century [2]....

ENT and the Titanic

One otolaryngologist who perished on the ill-fated voyage of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912 was Dr Ernest Moraweck, a prominent physician with an interest in ENT (and ophthalmology), living in Frankfort, Kentucky, USA [1]. Moraweck was an inventive...

Oscar Wilde’s Final Irony

The celebrated writer and poet, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on 16 October 1854 in Dublin. He distinguished himself as a classicist at Trinity College Dublin before, earning a scholarship to Oxford University, where he gained a double...

Beware of Bicycle Face!

Many of us were told as children that we would get square eyes from watching too much television. But spare a thought for those late Victorian ladies, embracing their first taste of liberty on a bicycle, who were threatened with...

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