It’s 1855 in Cleveland, Ohio and you need a surgeon. There were quite a few local options including the physicians out of the Cleveland Medical College and the Western Homeopathic College of Cleveland. In soliciting one of these (mostly) men, you assume that they have the adequate experience to perform whatever operation you need. But where did they get it?
Until December 5, 1855, the citizens of Cleveland were kept in the relative dark about how local medical men gained experience with the human body through dissection. At the time, Ohio had no legal way specified as to how medicals...
Rattle his bones over the stones,
He’s only a pauper, whom nobody owns.
Imagine you are a sick pauper living in Cleveland, Ohio in 1855. For shelter and medical attention, you stay at the newly built City Infirmary, where faculty and students of the Cleveland Medical College offer their services. Alas, your illness cannot be cured and you die – friendless and alone. Your body is taken to the Potter’s Field in Woodland Cemetery across town. But there it is not to stay.
In November 1855, the Cleveland police caught a young demonstrator of anatomy, Dr. Proctor Thayer, with two young medical...
Gross Anatomy, or the dissection of bodies by medical students for study has not always been a given of medical training. In fact, the practice has been fraught almost since the first, a battleground over bodies from the religious prohibition of the pre-modern period to a “gory” New York City riot in the eighteenth century when an enraged public rose up against body-snatching anatomists. What caused these tensions? Inconsistencies of jurisprudence and issues of class and race were all factors in the race to obtain a suitable corpse... And, given shortages, that sometimes meant "by any means necessary." Let's...