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Archive for the ‘Histroy of medicine’ Category

Indian subcontinent has a grand old history with a great civilization that began even before the ancient Greek and possibly Egyptian pharaohs .Post renaissance Europe made the British monarchy enter the country in early 1600s .This could be perceived as a new journey of modern India.In the early days of British colonization through East India company , the province in southern Indian Coramandal coast called Madras (Currently named Chennai) was a key economic and power center. Since the hospitals were the prime requirement to take care the Incoming officers ,Govt general hospital is the first major health care center to appear in India more than 300 years ago (In which the author of this blog is currently associated for over two decades) !

history of madras medical college government general hospital elihu yales

Though we currently call it as GGH , the original name was MGH* Madras General Hospital .

Originally built for the sick soldiers of east India company which functioned in the present St George fort premises.Then president of Madras fort Elihu Yale allotted the adjoining land and was instrumental in building the Govt general hospital in the year 1664 .The academic limb of the hospital the Madras medical college came more than a century later in 1835 .

elihu yale madras medical college

Few decades later in 1718 a Governor of New heaven Connecticut , Cotton Mather from far way North America wanted to start a small hospital who was short of money.He requested through his American contacts of British east India company for a donation from a successful British businessman Yale from Wales who making a fortune in the Indian county of Madras . Since, Yale had an American connection by birth in Boston, was willing to donate the money through Indian gifts worth of 560 pounds which was good enough to build the legendary hospital in New Haven which was named later after his name.

*It should mentioned the first seed of this hospital was planted by another British Sir Edward winter (1622-1686) , the Madras agent for the East India Company .

An article which appeared in Yale journal recently recalled the link between these two institutes.

history of madras medical college yale university drsvenkatesan dr s venkatesan cardiologist

Yale, of course carried a tag of being a controversial leader of British empire for misusing his power, still has his name permanently etched in the history of two great medical institution located far across the globe.

His life ended in 1721 , was laid to rest inside the quiet compound of church of Wales .The dark black concrete letters telling to the occasional visitors about the extraordinary life he lived over 300 years ago.

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Elihu Yales 1641 -1721.Born in Boston , Lived in Madras died in London. This memorial is found just outside St.Giles Church Wrexham , Wales .UK

st giles church elihu yales memorial Wrexham 2 wales

St.Giles Church Wrexham , Wales .UK

Click here : How to reach Wrexham ?

Another MGH . . .

The MGH as we know today is Massachusetts General hospital which was stated 150 years later than MGH senior in 1811 in Boston. It some times pains me to compare the growth of two . In terms of science , technology and research they are poles apart But in terms of equitable service , care , and social impact I think the senior MGH would still prevail over. !

Postamble

It is fascinating to know origins of college that taught us medicine.I wonder how many of the current students and the alumni know the grand old history of their Alma mater.I wish they pay a visit to St Giles church Wrexham , Wales once in life time. As we stand in-front of the Yale’s memorial one will definitely get that unique feel of travelling to the vintage past when Chennai GH was born with a baby cry !

Reference

1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elihu_Yale

2.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yale_University

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Great men dream , but they just do not sit idle. They do what they are passionate about .History just follows them or they create it.Here is a brief story of an ordinary man born in a small European country Lithuania in 1921  ,lived much of his  life in the east coast of USA ,transformed into a brilliant cardiologist  based in Brigham Hospital , Boston.

He is Dr Bernard Lown , best known as a founder of what is used in every coronary care unit and cardiac surgical theaters around the world . Yes, the DC cardioversion was invented by Lown in the year 1961.(Of course,  it was an Improvement  upon the  pioneering work of Zoll’s AC power line  for defibrillating   the heart  which was impractical and caused much injury )

 

drlown_history

Dr.Bernard Lown (Born 1921) ,With his Invention of DC Cardioversion machine Currently  working in  Harvard University

 

He was also the brain behind the  conversion of local anesthetic agent Lignocaine to cardiac anesthetic  which revolutionized the treatment of ventricular arrhythmia.(What a simple  but a path breaking  idea to use membrane stabilising action of local anesthesia to sedate the heart when it behaves erratically !)

We can also credit him for  rediscovering  Digoxin and found the secret that potassium supplementation can largely overcome  toxicity of this drug which was otherwise lifesaving in dilated , failing hearts  running amok with delirium tremors (Surname for Atrial fibillation in those days !)

While the Invention  of DC cardioversion had  a dramatic impact all over  world , he simultaneously popularized the concept of coronary care units along with Julian in London and Dr Day in Kansas city.

Its said great men’s mind  are perennially restless.Accordingly ,he was worried about the impending nuclear war with USSR and other global powers then. He collaborated with Russian cardiologist Dr. Eugene Chazov. It became a hugely popular peace organisation  International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPN) for which he got ultimately the Noble prize for  in 1985.

 

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During one of his Noble lectures (Linked to video)

 

 

It turned out to be “lovely Irony” for a man who probably should have got a Nobel prize for medicine for inventing DC cardioversion ,  ended up with Nobel peace prize for  his fight against a man made disease called  “Nuclear proliferation”.

Its heartening to note he has visited my country(India)  and was  awarded with Mahatma Gandhi peace prize  as well.He is now 95, active in Harvard   currently turned his vision towards eradicating Inappropriate medical treatment from the noble profession .I wonder , for a man who fought against a  nuclear war, what does this new Initiative mean ? Does he equate the medical profession in its current form and the direction in which travels to something that’s  grossly unacceptable ?

Whatever it is , I humbly endorse his views and has since dragged me to  his Institute.

lown-image

I just joined the institute and signed  a declaration . I wish every physician who take oath on Hippocrates should strengthen Dr Lown’s Doctrine .

Reference 

Link to Wikipedia

nobel-prize-in-medicine-cardiology-drsvenkatesan-venkatesan-madras-medical-college

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Men are from Mars , and  Women are from Venus  ” . . . Do you agree ?

Many probably witness the much talked  differential behavior among the gender  every day. Its argued , men take more risk in life ( often  senseless !) , some go to the extreme to  suggest  Men are Idiots and decorate them with a  provocative title  MIT (Men Idiot Theory ) (Mcpherson 2011).Risk taking is important in life, but at  what cost ? Does women (Who  are caring by nature )  help themselves  and the society by less risk taking behavior ?

I stumbled upon this rare piece of writing from BMJ which  would demand  in depth analysis  into this gender phenomenon based on  evolutionary biology and genetics.

This article concludes, Yes, men  . . . indeed  tend to take some foolish risks in various life situations that result in potential harm.

Gender difference in medical outcome men are from mars women venus male idiotic theory darwin theory

What is the influence of MIT on medical profession and patient outcome ?

Now , Iam compelled to ask  a hypothetical question .Does women medical professionals take  less aggressive stance and low risk taking behavior  and in the process result in less mortality and morbidity to our patients  ?

I would think the answer to that question  would be in affirmative .I wish  BMJ or anyone  should design a study on this issue.

Reference

1.Harris CR, Jenkins M, Glaser D. Gender differences in risk assessment: why do women take fewer risks than men? Judgm Decis Mak2006;1(1): p. 48-63.

2.Eckel CC, Grossman PJ. Men, women and risk aversion: experimental evidence. In: Plott CR, Smith VL, eds. Handbook of experimental economics results. Vol 1. North-Holland, 2008:1061-73.

3.McPherson J. Women are from Venus, men are idiots. Andrews McMeel, 2011

4.Northcutt W. The Darwin Awards: The official Darwin Awards: 180 bizarre true stories of how dumb humans have met their maker. Orion, 2004.

 

 

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