death, medical instruments, midwives, museums and collections

The mummy returns

      Have you seen the Egyptian mummies in the British Museum? Even if you’ve never been to London, you may have caught the travelling exhibition, ‘Mummy: The Inside Story’, which focuses on the priest Nesperennub, and has so far been seen by nearly 2 million people. Mummies are endlessly fascinating. They give nightmares… Continue reading The mummy returns

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Galen, midwives, museums and collections

Medical instruments as bling?

If you freeze at the sight of a medical instrument... .. you are not alone! Historically, physicians have tried various methods to reduce the fear induced in the patient by seeing what is coming their way. For women, possibly the most scary of all is the obstetrics forceps; if there was ever an instrument to strike terror… Continue reading Medical instruments as bling?

museums and collections, pregnancy, womb

Stone Babies: The Lithopedion of Sens

When Colombe Chatry, a tailor’s wife, died in May 1582 at the age of 68, at her husband’s request her body was opened up to discover what had happened to a pregnancy she had started 28 years earlier, which had never come to anything but had left her with years of abdominal pain and loss… Continue reading Stone Babies: The Lithopedion of Sens

midwives

The ideal midwife?

What do we look for in a midwife? Short nails feature a lot in the history of midwifery! Back in the second century AD, a doctor called Soranus wrote a book we now know as the Gynaecology. In consecutive chapters, he first answers the question ‘Who is able to become a midwife?’ and then turns… Continue reading The ideal midwife?