Preliminary Diagnosis

Our new Assistant Curator Louise Wilkie writes about her first month at Surgeons’ Hall Museums.  I have now been the Assistant Curator at Surgeons Hall for one month and what a month it has been. There is so much to learn of the rich collections here, not to mention a whole range of new medical…

Pathology Spotlight – Metastatic sarcoma of the orbit

Sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that can develop almost anywhere in the body , because they arise in mesenchymal cells which occur all over the body– i.e. fat, cartilage, bone, muscle, vascular or the tissue in which blood cells arise. This specimen is  a metastatic sarcoma of the right orbit and the surrounding…

Pathology Spotlight – Simpson’s Forceps

Pathology Spotlight takes a look at obstetrical forceps used by Sir James Young Simpson. These forceps are applied on the fetal head to aid difficult deliveries. They are shaped to accommodate the temporary elongation of the fetal head as it moves through the birth canal. Over the course of his career, Simpson designed various improved…

Pathology Spotlight – Melanoma of the Skin

Our 14th Pathology Spotlight looks at a melanoma of the skin on a big toe.  The specimen is a resected big toe with the right half of the toenail removed to reveal a melanoma, which is visible as an area of dark discolouration on the right side. According to the contemporary notes on the the…

Pathology Spotlight – Mitral Valve Disease

Our 13th Pathology Spotlight features a heart with mitral valve disease.  The specimen is a horizontal cut through a heart showing the thick muscular wall of the left ventricle enclosing the lower end of a prosthetic mitral valve which has been stitched into position to replace a diseased one.  The mitral valve is the valve…

Pathology Spotlight – Coarctation of the Aorta

We come full circle in our latest Pathology Spotlight blog as we revisit the heart, the organ in question from our first pathology spotlight.  Coarctation is an example of a congenital (present at birth) condition. The narrowing of the aorta by the coarctation deprives the lower body of the full flow of blood. Also, because…

Unmaking a Murderer

John Baxter writes for Surgeons’ Hall Museums in this guest post chronicling William Burke’s movements in his final 24 hours.  The story of the West Port Murders is one of the most shocking ever recorded in Scottish judicial history.  Over a period of 10 months in 1828, William Burke and William Hare murdered 16 people…