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…

Pathology Spotlight – Fergusson, Burke & Hare

This specimen was prepared by Professor Sir William Fergusson who, as a young man in early 19th century Edinburgh, worked closely with Dr Robert Knox, whose notoriety is based on his association with the serial killers Burke and Hare. It is a corrosion cast of a right foot with the lower end of the leg…

Jack and the Shannon

In our final blog of the year, we look at a case of amputation instruments used by Alexander Jack during the early 1800s. Jack was an RCSEd Diplomate in 1801 and later ship’s surgeon aboard the HMS Shannon. These instruments are part of his personal surgery kit and were used by him during the battle between…

The Battle of the Barbers and the Leeches

The above title refers to the friendly rivalry between the Physicians and the Surgeons of Edinburgh for the annual Handicap event played by the Royal Colleges Golf Club. The inaugural match teed off in 1890 and continues to be held every May at Luffness New Golf Club. It was founded by, and first captained by…

Pathology Spotlight -Bowel Cancer

Our final Pathology Spotlight blog of the year looks at bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK today, affecting around 1 in 19 women and 1 in 14 men. According to Cancer Research UK, there are now more than 41,900 new cases of bowel cancer being diagnosed every year [source]….

What it’s like working behind the scenes at an anatomy museum

Gillian McDonald writes for iNews in this latest blog post.  Surgeons’ Hall Museums are home to one of the largest and most historic collections of pathology in the world. From the personal collections of renowned anatomists such as Charles Bell, to infamous specimens like the pocketbook made from the skin of murderer William Burke, the…

Pathology Spotlight – When bigger is not better

The image below shows a urinary bladder of an adult male opened up to reveal the inside surface. A spherical enlargement of the prostate gland (P) is overhanging and blocking the flow of urine into the urethra (U). The prostate grows around the urethra at the point at which it exits from the bladder and…

Pathology Spotlight – “Old Bones”

This skull shows the unmistakable appearance of osteoporosis, which has resulted in loss of bone from the skull, particularly around the jaw where the teeth should be present. The patient was ‘an aged, bedridden female’ according to the contemporary notes, who had suffered from generalised loss of bone mass from all the major bones of…

Pathology Spotlight – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Lymphoma occurs when there is an overgrowth of cells in the lymph glands, enlarging them, predominantly in the armpits, chest, neck and groin.  In Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), the cells which begin to grow out of control are derived from B-lymphocytes -a type of white blood cell. The specimen below, was derived from a patient who presented…