plastic surgery

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

front cover of Dr. Mutter's Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz on a white background. To the left of the book is a bottle with dark liquid, to the top a wooden container engraved with a floral pattern, and to the right the base of deep red goblet.Admittedly, I picked up Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz a few years ago because of the cover. I thought this book was going to be about a doctor in the 1800s and the crazy cases he saw and the surgeries he performed on people with serious deformities. But what I got instead was a book that was dedicated to showcasing Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter’s revolutionary thinking and beliefs when it came to patient care and medical student teaching. In the mid-1800s, Philadelphia may have been a rapidly-growing, modern city, but it was also an incredibly dangerous place. During this time, asthma, a broken bone, or a rotten tooth could just as easily kill you as yellow fever, cholera, or smallpox. Amidst all of this, Philadelphia was also the city with one of the oldest and most renowned medical schools in the country – the University of Pennsylvania. However, compared to what we expect of medical school graduates these days, very little was required of students in those days. Students often graduated with as little as a year or two of schooling, and essentially no practical, hands-on experience with patients. It should come as no surprise that patients were treated simply as cases, with little attachment or care shown to them by doctors. It was not a good time to fall ill. Continue reading…