As described in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Dec. 6, 2005)
, a man on vacation in rural Ontario experienced sudden, profound hearing loss. A family doctor on vacation in the same location was consulted and diagnosed the man as suffering from a buildup of cement-like ear cerumen. Lacking access to professional equipment for its removal, ingenuity was required. A child's Super Soaker Max-D 5000 proved to be the solution:
The Super Soaker Max-D 5000 was filled with body-temperature water and then mildly pressurized using the blue hand-pump. The trigger was depressed, releasing a gentle, narrow jet of water, which was then aimed along the posterior wall of the ear canal. After approximately 15 seconds, the jet was aimed along the anterior wall. This cycle was repeated (with occasional repressurizing) until the Super Soaker was empty.
Midway through the second load's stream, wax particles began to run out of the ear. Just after starting the third load, a large plug of wax burst forth from the patient's ear. The 3 generations of family members present took turns admiring (or recoiling from) the specimen. The patient exclaimed in joy, "I can hear again!"...
The clinician operator of the device was impressed by the Super Soaker's ease of use for this procedure. Specifically, the ability to control a narrow, mildly pressurized jet of water was considered excellent. As well, the device only had to be refilled once or twice before the cerumen was removed from each ear. This is in contrast to his experience of requiring up to 10 or more refills of standard ear-syringing equipment. Using the Super Soaker in standard practice could then lead to decreased overall time spent on this procedure, resulting in shorter waiting times for patients through increased physician efficiency.
Sadistic dentist, with an eye toward cultivating future patients, gives out candy.
From the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Oct 2012, 27(10): 1383-1383:
A 59-year-old man with diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension and dyslipidemia was admitted to the hospital for a below-the-knee amputation due to chronic non-healing wounds of his lower extremity. Physical examination revealed a “D.N.R.” tattoo on his chest (Fig. 1). Upon reviewing his code status, he indicated that he would want resuscitative efforts initiated in the event of a cardiac or respiratory arrest. However, he did not want prolonged attempts at resuscitation. When asked why his tattoo conflicted with his wishes to be resuscitated, he explained that he had lost a bet playing poker with fellow ancillary hospital staffers while inebriated in his younger years; the loser had to tattoo “D.N.R.” across his chest.
Instead of using refrigerated trucks to deliver medical supplies to people who live in the deserts of Africa, inventors have built solar-powered refrigerators that can be carried by camels, and so the medicines are delivered via refrigerated camel.
Apparently it wasn't that easy to build a camel-carried refrigerator. It had to be lightweight, but also sturdy enough to survive the motion of being on the camel as well as the extreme desert conditions.
More info: ABC News
One of the world records that Guinness no longer tracks is that for "most pills swallowed." But from the late 1970s to the 1990s it consistently awarded this to one C.H.A. Kilner of Malawi (or perhaps Zimbabwe — accounts differ), who apparently took A LOT of pills following a pancreatectomy (removal of his pancreas) on June 9, 1967.
The exact number of pills taken by Kilner progressively increased over time. The 1978 edition of Guinness put it at 280,131 pills. A year later it had reached 311,136. By 1981 it was 359,061. And Kilner finally stopped taking pills on June 19, 1988, having reached a total of 565,939 pills.
Later reports did the math and figured out that this worked out to 73 pills a day, and that "if all the pills he had taken were laid out end to end they would form an unbroken line two miles 186 yards long."
Where exactly was Guinness getting this information from? I have no idea, because they seem to be the only source for it. I can't find any record of this Kilner guy in medical journals.
Guinness Book of Records - 1978 Edition
Detroit Free Press - Dec 4, 1978
Logansport Pharos Tribune - Feb 7, 1982
Guinness Book of Records - 1995 Edition
In an old American medical journal, The Philadelphia Medical Museum
(1811 - Vol 1, No.4), Dr. Richard Hazeltine of Berwick, Maine shared a traditional yankee recipe for "buttered flip" cough medicine:
Often in the imbecile age of childhood, after I had gone to bed have I sip'd, and with no great reluctance, the steeming, salutiferous "buttered flip;" administered by the careful hand of an affectionate mother, to several, perhaps, of her tender offspring, who were affected with various catarrhal complaints, brought on by wet feet, and exposure to sudden vicissitudes of the weather.
The "buttered flip" was composed of recent urine, obtained from some one of the children, hot water, honey, and a little butter: and it generally removed the complaints for which it was given. Exhibited in this manner, it never puked; but it promoted expectoration and sweat.
image source: gracious rain
In a medical reference book from the 1940s, The New People's Physician
(1941), I came across these pictures of kids in classrooms and playing sports dressed only in their tighty-whities. They weren't students at a clothing-optional school. They were actually being treated for tuberculosis. In the days before antibiotics, sunlight therapy (or heliotherapy) was a popular cure for that disease.
"At Leysin, in the Alpes Vaudoises, Dr. A. Rollier instituted the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis and other tuberculous diseases by means of direct sunlight. The patients spend as much time as possible in the open air, exposed to the rays of the sun."
"Early cases of tuberculosis in young and vigorous people benefit considerably from treatment at high altitudes. Exercise and sport of a not too strenuous nature is advocated."
"At Perrysburg, N.Y., tubercular children study in an open-air schoolroom, stripped to the waist."
"Minimum clothing and maximum exposure to the sun contribute to improving the health of these tuberculous children at Perrysburg, New York. Outdoor classes and fresh air improve general health as well."
"Outdoor air and sunlight, even in the New England winter, are part of the treatment for child tuberculosis patients of the Meriden State Tuberculosis Sanitarium, Meriden, Conn."
An LA Times article
(May 28, 2007) gives some background on the popularity of sunlight therapy for TB:
sunlight therapy, or heliotherapy as it was sometimes called (helios is the Greek word for sun), didn't become popular until a Swiss doctor, Auguste Rollier, began championing it in the early 1900s...
Rollier devised a detailed protocol for how, exactly, to sunbathe for health. He was convinced that early-morning sun was best and that sun exposure was most beneficial when the air was cool. When patients, most of whom had tuberculosis, arrived at his solaria, they first had to adjust to the altitude (his clinics were in the mountains) and then to the cool air. Once acclimated, Rollier slowly exposed them to the sun.
The patients were rolled onto sun-drenched, open-air balconies, wearing loincloths and covered from head to toe with white sheets. On the first day of treatment, just their feet peeked out from under the sheets, and only for five minutes. On day two, the sheets were pulled a little higher, and the patients were left in the sun a few minutes more. By day five, only the patients' heads were covered, their bodies left to soak up sun for more than an hour. After a few weeks, the patients were very tan -- and hopefully very healthy. (The therapy worked for many, but not all.)
And according to a fairly recent article in the Journal of Cell Biology
, "Curing TB with Sunlight"
(Mar 27, 2006), sunlight actually is a fairly effective treatment for tuberculosis:
Ultraviolet (UV) light makes vitamin D, and vitamin D turns on innate immunity to tuberculosis (TB), say Steffen Stenger (Universität Erlangen, Germany), Philip Liu, Robert Modlin (University of California, Los Angeles, CA), and colleagues...
The finding may explain why Hermann Brehmer's 19th century trip to the Himalayas cured him of his TB, and why the fresh air at his sanatoria helped cure others. “Our forefathers knew a lot more about this than we give them credit for,” says Modlin. Eventually, however, sanitoria coddled their patients behind glass, which would have blocked the beneficial UV light.