SUMMARY The Knife Man Blood Body Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery 107

Wendy Moore ´ 7 SUMMARY

The surgeon who counted not only luminaries Benjamin Franklin Lord Byron Adam Smith and Thomas Gainsborough among his patients but also “resurrection men” among his close acuaintances A captivating portrait of his ruthless devotion to uncovering the secrets of the human John Hunter rose from a poor Scottish farming family to become one of the leading men of science and medicine His courage he inserted a knife's point covered in pus into his urethra to see if syphilis and gonorrhea were the same disease omg his lack of hypocrisy in an age when even surgeons who relied on dissections refused to let their bodies be disturbed he actually reuested an autopsy and his clear sighted reliance on evidence instead of assumptions and tradition helped him transform surgery and natural sciences From a farm boy with an unfashionable accent he became the chosen surgeon of such luminaries as Lord Byron Benjamin Franklin and William Pitt the Younger Unfortunately he poured all his money into creating an incredible natural history museum so upon his death his family was left destitute Additionally his brother in law stole his papers in order to steal his ideas and ensure that Home not Hunter got the glory of the discoveries Moore weaves together the zeitgeist and scientific theories of the time with the facts of Hunter's extraordinary life His story is fascinating and her writing is lucid and energetic The Valhalla Prophecy (Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase inserted a knife's point covered The Tunnel in pus Secretos del Cosmos into his urethra to see The Secret Treasons if syphilis and gonorrhea were the same disease omg his lack of hypocrisy مريض الوهم in an age when even surgeons who relied on dissections refused to let their bodies be disturbed he actually reuested an autopsy and his clear sighted reliance on evidence The Hypochondriacs Guide To Life And Death instead of assumptions and tradition helped him transform surgery and natural sciences From a farm boy with an unfashionable accent he became the chosen surgeon of such luminaries as Lord Byron Benjamin Franklin and William Pitt the Younger Unfortunately he poured all his money ¡Arde Troya! (Las aventuras de Ogú, Mampato y Rena, into creating an Doctor y campeón incredible natural history museum so upon his death his family was left destitute Additionally his brother La corruptrice in law stole his papers Sweet for Her (Sweet Curves in order to steal his The Purpose-Guided Universe ideas and ensure that Home not Hunter got the glory of the discoveries Moore weaves together the zeitgeist and scientific theories of the time with the facts of Hunter's extraordinary life His story The Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion is fascinating and her writing The Academy is lucid and energetic

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The Knife Man Blood Body Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery

In an era when bloodletting was considered a cure for everything from colds to smallpox surgeon John Hunter was a medical innovator an eccentric and the person to whom anyone who has ever had surgery probably owes his or her life In this sensational and macabre story we meet Year is 1785 and one of the first patients to see Mr Hunter had a tumor the size of a bowling ball on the side of his head Fortunately it was benign The tumor was so large no other surgeon would operate except John Hunter Thus 25 minutes later patient Burley left with a little scar sans 9 lb useless appendage that Hunter had expertly evacuated Surgeon John Hunter was the youngest of ten children Hunter used the scientific method in his practices and thus demonstrated the interconnectedness of all life Many accolades including his marriage to a poet patient King George III and the Copley medal win John Hunter was driven by tireless curiosity and a compulsion to improve the surgery he had witnessed in hospitals” He came to be admired by patients and medical students” Wendy Moore In the 1700’s the medical community had no idea of germs and hand washing prepost surgery Surgical instruments were encrusted with pus and remnants from the previous surgery Blood loss and infection was the causality for death Surgery in the late 1700’s was for the brave and was not illuminated as we find most surgical theatres now Book is not for the prudish Superb Buy learn and discuss

FREE DOWNLOAD The Knife Man Blood Body Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery

Body and the extraordinary lengths to which he went to do so including body snatching performing pioneering medical experiments and infecting himself with venereal disease this rich historical narrative at last acknowledges this fascinating man and the debt we owe him today An excellent combination of a compelling narrative of a most influential scientist with the evolution of the practice of surgery and medical science Ms Moore has artfully told the store of John Hunter and his rise from the son of a Scottish farmer to a pioneer in medical and anthropological studies While there are many extremely graphic scenes conveyed to the reader they are necessary to gain the appreciation of how barbaric some of the acceptable practices in medicine were at the time This is not a book for the faint of heart but is a book for anyone interested in how John Hunter influenced so many of the future generations of medical experts that have been a part of understanding and providing breakthroughs in healthcare over the last 200 years The field of forensic science dentistry anthropology geology and zoology to name a few all have a link back to the years of research conducted by John Hunter The last two lines of the book sums it up nicely by William Clift who said From the beginning I fancied without being able to account for it that nobody about Mr Hunter seemed capable of appreciating him He seemed to me to have lived before his time and to have died before he was sufficiently understood


10 thoughts on “The Knife Man Blood Body Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery

  1. says:

    Year is 1785 and one of the first patients to see Mr Hunter had a tumor the size of a bowling ball on the side of his head Fortunately it was benign The tumor was so large no other surgeon would operate except John Hunter Thus 25 minutes later patient Burley left with a little scar sans 9 lb useless appendage that Hunter had expertly evacuated Surgeon John Hunter was the youngest of ten children Hunter used the scientific method in his practices and thus demonstrated the interconnectedness of all life Many accolades including his marriage to a poet patient King George III and the Copley medal win John Hunter was driven by tireless curiosity and a compulsion to improve the surgery he had witnessed in hospitals” He came to be admired by patients and medical students” Wendy Moore In the 1700’s the medical community had no idea of germs and hand washing prepost surgery Surgical instruments were encrusted with pus and remnants from the previous surgery Blood loss and infection was the causality for death Surgery in the late 1700’s was for the brave and was not illuminated as we find most surgical theatres now Book is not for the prudish Superb Buy learn and discuss


  2. says:

    Trigger warnings lots and lots of medical stuff and anatomy and dissection and weird experiments on animals that end in them dying So this is a biography of John Hunter eighteenth century surgeon It tells the story of his life through cases that he worked experiments he performed and discoveries he made that revolutionised medicine forever In an era when most doctors still relied on bleeding and purging as their core treatments Hunter despite being a surgeon not a doctor was all Yeah I'mma fix the ACTUAL cause or Leave it alone it'll sort itself out as reuired He was clearly a brilliant mind albeit a little cracked out Likehomeboy gave himself syphilis so that he could track the progress of syphilis and report on it medically???? WHUT He also relied heavily on body snatchers provided medical care to some of the most important people in the country was pretty unscrupulous at times and amassed an incredible collection of anatomical and natural history objects Anyway This was occasionally horrifying but largely fascinating It's definitely not one for the faint of heart but if you're at all interested in medical history give it a go


  3. says:

    Terrible title that makes it sound like a bio of Jack the Ripper’s cutlery obsessed sidekick but an utterly fascinating story about a virtually unknown 18th century surgeon named John Hunter who was arguably one of the most innovative medical researchers in history Yes he paid criminals to dig up graves and steal cadavers for him but as a result of his work on dead bodies he knew about the human body than any man alive and used his knowledge to cure people at a time when bloodletting was considered the treatment of choice for just about everything One example—as a military surgeon he perceived that his colleagues would reflexively operate on every soldier with a bullet wound even if amputation was reuired More often than not infections would set in and cause death Hunter realized that surgery was not always necessary—many of the wounded could live normal lives with bullet wounds He was right and as a result he cut pun not intended the mortality rate in half Some of his surgical techniues were dismissed as heresy but later adopted in the 1950s; he performed the first in vitro fertilization—in the late 1700s But what astounded me the most was the fact that virtually nobody except perhaps for some in the medical profession has ever heard of him


  4. says:

    John Hunter rose from a poor Scottish farming family to become one of the leading men of science and medicine His courage he inserted a knife's point covered in pus into his urethra to see if syphilis and gonorrhea were the same disease omg his lack of hypocrisy in an age when even surgeons who relied on dissections refused to let their bodies be disturbed he actually reuested an autopsy and his clear sighted reliance on evidence instead of assumptions and tradition helped him transform surgery and natural sciences From a farm boy with an unfashionable accent he became the chosen surgeon of such luminaries as Lord Byron Benjamin Franklin and William Pitt the Younger Unfortunately he poured all his money into creating an incredible natural history museum so upon his death his family was left destitute Additionally his brother in law stole his papers in order to steal his ideas and ensure that Home not Hunter got the glory of the discoveries Moore weaves together the zeitgeist and scientific theories of the time with the facts of Hunter's extraordinary life His story is fascinating and her writing is lucid and energetic


  5. says:

    A book that makes you grateful to experience medicine as it is TODAY35 StarsI’m a huge fan of medical non fiction and the history of medicine so naturally I gravitated toward this title I will say this wasn’t my favorite that I’ve read on the subject and it’s a bit early of a timeframe for what I typically am fascinated by I prefer mid to late 19th century medicine but there were definitely a lot of fascinating details strewn throughout this book andothers that were of a rather disturbing nature like the distressing experiments and vivisections John Hunter performed on live animals all in the name of science John Hunter apparently had dissection time than most surgeons of the time mainly due to the measures he’d go to acuire bodiesanimals for himself and for his students to have a “book” to learn from and explore I mean I completely understand that these measures boosted the medical field considerably and especially in the art of surgeryThe sample of the book was what drew me in and I was blown away by that first chapter thinking “what a treat if the entire book is written this way”—well the rest of the book fell a little flat compared to all that the very first chapter had to offer The rest of the story was written in choppy chapters and not tackling the feel of that first chapter transporting me right in the moment The first chapter called “The Coach Driver’s Knee” talked about how in 1785 aneurysms behind the knee were often a death sentence but John Hunter entered the scene at just the right moment and felt confident with his knowledge of the anatomy of the region to be able to repair the injury I won’t go into too much detail in case you plandecide to read the book I just mistakenly thought that each consecutive chapter was going to follow various surgeriescases he performedtreated and what their outcomes were But that was not exactly the caseI was just left wanting of that But I guess what came after that first chapter was essentially explaining just how he came to be one of the most sought after surgeons due to his comprehension of anatomy and all the tangle of muscles tendons veins lymph nodes arteries organs that lay just below the surface of our largest organ—the skin “He believed that only by minutely studying the human body in order to understand the whereabouts and functions of every living part could surgeons possibly hope to improve their skills” pg 7 It is rather disheartening at how he arrived at this knowledge though—with the book going into great detail of how he made animals suffer to verify how things worked just beneath the skin how organs functioned how injuries healed etc I wish there was another way but I suppose I should be grateful for what these mavericks did for the modernization of surgery and medicine This book was riddled with fascinating tidbits like for example“Far from being interlopers in the field of surgery barbers were the first surgeons The earliest organized medical care in medieval times had been centered on monasteries But the church frowned on its devotees spilling blood and so barbers—who were freuent visitors to brethren in order to keep tonsures and beards in trim—assisted the monks in their medical work by excising warts removing abscesses and letting blood The familiar red and white striped poles outside barbershops are leftover reminders of their erstwhile professions Originally they signified the bandaged and bloodied stick gripped by patients during minor surgical procedures” Pg 22And some beautiful descriptions that do help to transport you to that time and place as in “As Hunter approached from the northeast through the pleasant villages of Tottenham Islington and Pentonville the rough rutted road became increasingly busy while houses shops and taverns wrestled for space along the way As he neared the city the narrow towering tenements which housed whole families in single cellars and attic rooms almost blocked out the sky Negotiating the congested streets where stagecoaches and private carriages battled for passage with farm carts and livestock seemed hopelessly confusing; the sounds of horses’ hooves creaking wheels and complaining cattle were deafening Mud animal dung refuse and human waste splashed pedestrians as they walked the pavements and tried to dodge the swinging shop signs speeding bearers of sedan chairs and downpours of foul water from upper story windows By late afternoon oil lamps lighted the smoky streets and candles illuminated shop windows displaying silk clothing and exuisite jewelry their luxury forming a pantomime backdrop to the sualor of ragged children begging in the gutters” Pg 24A few other excerpts“On the treacherous high seas British adventurers were risking their lives to claim uncharted territories for king and country beating off European rivals in the struggle for global domination Success brought not only immediate fortune but lasting fame The victors’ names would be forever commemorated in some remote mountain or coastal feature The exploration of the human body was no different Across Europe anatomists vied to discover previously unmapped parts of the body staking their claim to a piece of the human interior Intrepid anatomists could be assured of immortality through the parts they described; if they did not themselves bestow their names on their discoveries they could be certain their disciples would arrange that honor So in the sixteenth century the followers of Italian professor Gabriello Fallopio ensured his name would live forever after he described the tubes to the uterus His compatriot and contemporary Bartolomeo Eustachio likewise had his name commemorated in the tube running between the nose and the ear And in the following century striking back for England the anatomist Thomas Willis left his name to the Circle of Willis the loops of arteries at the base of the brain Pg 64“Opening a huge sperm whale on a barge on the Thames standing on top of its blubbery carcass as he had in 1759 he noted that “the tongue was almost like a feather bed” With awe he added “The heart and aorta of the spermaceti whale appeared prodigious being too large to be contained in a wide tub the aorta measuring a foot in diameter When we consider this applied to the circulation and figure to ourselves that probably ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out at one stroke and moved with immense velocity through a tube of a foot diameter the whole idea fills the mind with wonder Hunter’s poetical descriptions of whales would later be cited as inspiration for Moby Dick” Pg 153“John Hunter had spent an anxious spring finalizing plans to transfer his anatomy and natural history collection into its new homeBut at last the work was finished and the remarkable building complete Between the smart four story town house fronting Leicester Suare and the inconspicuous dowdy looking house at its rear facing Castle Street stretched a spectacular brick and glass structure providing a lecture theater grand reception room and a customer built museum Accommodating Hunter’s myriad businesses as surgeon anatomist teacher and researcher while also fostering his continuing connections with London’s underworld the dual fronted house would later inspire Robert Louis Stevenson when writing his horror story The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Although the plot for the story came to Stevenson in a dream he is said to have based Dr Jekyll’s house—the setting for the melodramatic transformation from good to evil—on Hunter’s Leicester Suare home In the Gothic tale written in 1886 when the house was still a familiar London landmark the honest Dr Jekyll had bought his house was still a familiar London landmark the honest Dr Jekyll had bought his house from “the heirs of a celebrated surgeon” Stevenson described the visitors who entered the doctor’s home being led across a yard toward a lecture theater was from the “old dissecting room door” which opened onto a dingy thoroughfare at the rear of the house that the grim faced Mr Hyde emerged to commit his murderous deeds” Pg 218“Enthusiastic young surgeons rushed to the Castle Street entrance to enroll for the autumn 1785 lectures which began on October 10 After hanging their hats on the pegs ranged in the lobby they signed the pupil’s register which was kept on a desk beside the door to the lecture theatre James Parkinson who would later publish the first description of the “shaking palsy” that later bore his name was one of the students in 1785; his notes would form one of the most comprehensive records of Hunter’s lectures” Pg 222“When Edward Jenner tested his smallpox vaccine on an eight year old boy in 1796 thus establishing the practice of vaccination which would save millions of lives he was studiously following his tutor’s principles When Joseph Lister tried out his carbolic soaked lint in eleven patients in 1867 thus launching antiseptic practices that would prevent countless deaths he was purposefully adopting his hero’s methods And numberless pioneering surgeons down the years would similarly follow Hunter’s scientific principles in helping to render surgery safe and effective” Pg 275


  6. says:

    A very engaging biography of a fascinating figure despite being largely self educated John Hunter was an intellectual giant who pioneered experimental surgery and applied the scientific method to medicine in a time when most doctors put stock in ancient texts than verifiable observations Hunter extensively studied the anatomy of humans and animals through thousands of dissections and even seems to have been moving toward his own theory of evolution though his writings on the subject were not published during his lifetime 1728 1793 By modern standards Hunter seems both enlightened advocating restraint in surgery and letting the body heal itself instead if it could; battlefield surgery in particular was so primitive it often made conditions worse and cruel animal vivisection and seeking out unusual bodies of people who definitely did not want to be dissected – which unfortunately for medicine at the time was almost everyone By the standards of his own time too he was polarizing wildly popular among the hundreds of students whose educations he made a priority but hated by many of his colleagues for being brusue and dismissiveAll around Hunter was a colorful figure with an interesting life and he's given very sympathetic treatment here I do wonder as sometimes happens in biographies if the author overstates the importance of her subject to history or the prescience of some of his speculations But her facts seem very well supported in which case Hunter's contributions have been sadly under discussed Overall I found this book very readable engaging and informative and it paints a vivid picture of the timesA note for the sueamish I am sueamish and was a little concerned to read this based on comments in a few reviews but I actually didn’t find it that bad Early on a couple of surgical procedures are described somewhat explicitly but the book is much about Hunter’s life than about surgical methods Where his work is described I didn’t find it overly gory but then I did go in expecting the worst


  7. says:

    An excellent combination of a compelling narrative of a most influential scientist with the evolution of the practice of surgery and medical science Ms Moore has artfully told the store of John Hunter and his rise from the son of a Scottish farmer to a pioneer in medical and anthropological studies While there are many extremely graphic scenes conveyed to the reader they are necessary to gain the appreciation of how barbaric some of the acceptable practices in medicine were at the time This is not a book for the faint of heart but is a book for anyone interested in how John Hunter influenced so many of the future generations of medical experts that have been a part of understanding and providing breakthroughs in healthcare over the last 200 years The field of forensic science dentistry anthropology geology and zoology to name a few all have a link back to the years of research conducted by John Hunter The last two lines of the book sums it up nicely by William Clift who said From the beginning I fancied without being able to account for it that nobody about Mr Hunter seemed capable of appreciating him He seemed to me to have lived before his time and to have died before he was sufficiently understood


  8. says:

    Another great nonfiction book recommended to me by Goodreads I thoroughly enjoyed the subject matter of the book John Hunter was a fascinating man with an interesting history and interesting views Moore describes his life as if writing a novel about a uniue protagonist Her writing is descriptive and engaging She drew me in from the very first words The patient faced an agonizing choice I especially liked the clever chapter titles all named after the body part of a human or animal treated by Hunter eg The Poet's Foot and The Lizard's TailI highly recommend this book but some parts are gruesome in their details since Hunter was involved with body snatching and since he dissected humans and animals sometimes working on live animals as well The descriptions didn't bother me at all but I like the macabre and being grossed out Some of the reviewers warned readers not to read the book while eating I did so several times and was okay but I'm just passing the warning along


  9. says:

    Well I am at least underwhelmed The life of John Hunter is a really peculiar one He had changed the concept of surgical management and via his abnormal background and lack of normal medical background at that point of time he managed to get rid of the myths which ruled surgical practice in the 18th century However Wendy Moore managed somehow to put this amazing time line in a very boring manner I've with much difficulty managed to finish like half of the book I actually couldn't push myself to read any further although I would have loved to read the rest of this peculiar surgeon's adventure I guess I have to find a different source


  10. says:

    If you are at all interested in biology surgery the Enlightenment and aren't particularly sueamish do yourself a favor and read this one John Hunter who plied his surgical trade in what we now think back on as the dark ages of medicine revolutionized his field and the natural sciences in general by emphasizing observation experimentation and the application of scientific evidence Common sense as this sounds gathering evidence and acting on it was not what was expected of physicians at that time Treatments were passed down rather like mythology and doubters were treated as social pariahs If the very hierarchical medical community practiced bleeding because that's what was generally done a surgical apprentice could fail his exams for suggesting alternate treatments outside the accepted normThe colorful John Hunter changed all this and this book makes a fascinating case for his revolutionary role in medical history without over romanticizing him Apparently his house at Leicester Suare was used as the setting for RL Stevenson's Jekyll Hyde and Doctor Hunter himself certainly had a bit of that two faced character in him one moment saving a coachman's life by operating on his knee for no pay the next conniving to receive the skeleton of the famous young Irish Giant to add to his collection of curiosities despite the poor still alive man's utter abhorrence of the idea of post mortem dissection In all this is a well researched and written account of a fascinating man who isn't a household name but perhaps should be


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