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…

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]….