Pathology Spotlight: Gas Gangrene and Trench Warfare

This specimen comes from a soldier who was injured by a gunshot wound to the left knee in France during August 1917. Much of the trench warfare in France and Flanders during the first world war took place in what had been cultivated fields that would be fertilised with horse manure, meaning that soil would…

Pathology Spotlight: A Holey Kidney

The figure shows the cut surface of a kidney revealing dozens of cysts, like bubbles, visible at the cut surface. Polycystic kidney disease (PCKD) is a genetic disorder characterized by the development of numerous cysts of varying size, averaging about 1,000 per kidney. PCKD cysts, which are filled with urine, can enlarge the kidneys, obliterating…

Pathology Spotlight- Bones from Barclay

This specimen comes from the collection of John Barclay, and shows a lower leg where the tibia has fractured, but the bone has not united forming a ‘false joint’ where the two opposing surfaces of the fracture have spread to accommodate one another. Use of the limb following this injury has caused the fibula to…

Corrosion Casts: Sculpture in the Pathology Gallery

Lindsey started a 20 day internship with the museum as part of her postgraduate degree at Edinburgh University. She is working on an inventory of our pathology gallery which includes over 1000 specimens.

Dodged That Bullet

Our Assistant Curator gives us a behind the scenes look into a rather unusual and slightly complicated find in the collection stores.

Intussusception

  This specimen shows ileo-caecal intussusception. Intussusception occurs when one section of the bowel invaginates into the section downstream of it, leading to obstruction of the bowel. It prevents peristalsis moving the food through the gut, leading to intermittent abdominal pain and vomiting. Compression of the intussuscepted bowel can cause obstruction of the blood supply,…

Black Teeth and Tooth Extraction

Dr Paul Geissler, Honourary Curator of the dental collection gives us an insight into 19th Century Japanese dentistry from the museums collections. John Menzies Campbell donated his extensive collection of dental artefacts to the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1966. Among the items he donated is a fascinating and very pleasing…

The good old days? – Evidence of a polluted history

Chris Henry, Director of Heritage, and Ken Donaldson, Senior Research Fellow at Surgeons’ Hall Museums, write about artefacts from the museum collections that reveal damage cause by urban air in previous centuries.  Most people, if asked, would be of the opinion that air pollution is worse now than in the past but, perhaps surprisingly, they…

X-Posed – A glimpse into the injuries of WWI

The museum has recently acquired a series of First World War Glass X-ray plates from Bellahouston Auxiliary Hospital in Glasgow dating from 1918-1919. NHS Fife donated the X-rays after they were discovered in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy in 2014. Bellahouston House in Glasgow was converted into a military hospital during the First World War and operated…

Prisoner of War Artworks

Prisoner of war artworks, donated in 2005, came to our attention recently. They offer an insight into what war medics went through to keep soldiers alive when being held as prisoners during World War 2. Perhaps the most striking is this watercolour of a Japanese POW. The writing on the back reads: “Several Japanese P.O.Ws…