History of Medicine
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Curious? Take a Look
Take a look and find something new. Explore this selection of remarkable materials and the exhibitions that feature them.
Follow where your curiosity leads you!
Postmortem dissection, 1978
ALERT: Some people may find images from postmortem dissections disturbing. Viewer discretion advised. Postmortem dissection, or autopsy, is the core practice of forensic medicine and was among the first scientific methods developed to be used in the investigation of violent or suspicious death. The postmortem examiner surveys the cadaver's surface, opens up the figure with surgical instruments, removes organs and body parts for microscopic inspection and toxicological analysis, and makes a report that attempts to reconstruct the cause, manner, and mechanism of death. These clips from training film show some of the procedures of postmortem examination. To learn more about the history of forensic science, visit the online exhibition Visible Proofs: Forensic Views of the Body.
Clyde Snow: Bearing Witness, 2008
In 1984, after the fall of the military junta in Argentina, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science asked American forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow, PhD (b. 1928) to travel to the country to help the newly elected democratic government find out what happened to the thousands of the "disappeared" Argentinean citizens kidnapped and presumed murdered by the military dictatorship. In Argentina, Dr. Snow trained a group of volunteer anthropology and medical university students in forensic anthropology. Together they excavated hundreds of clandestine mass graves. The work was painstaking and dangerous as the disposed junta could regain power and retaliate against the investigators. Nevertheless, Dr. Snow and his team of students became instrumental in providing evidence that led to the successful prosecution of six members of the junta for their crimes. These students went on to found the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (in Spanish, Equipo Argentino de Anthropologia Forense or EAAF), a non-governmental organization dedicated to using forensic science to investigate human rights abuses. In this series of short films produced by the National Library of Medicine for the exhibition Visible Proofs: Forensic Views of the Body, Dr. Snow talks about forensic anthropology and human rights.
Victoria Cargill, MD—Making a Difference, 2008
As director of Minority Research and Clinical Studies at the Office of AIDS Research at National Institutes of Health, Dr. Victoria Cargill works to ensure the representation of minorities in clinical trials, and to increase the number of minority researchers in the field. In this brief interview segment produced by the National Library of Medicine for the exhibition Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health, Dr. Cargill invites others to get involved in HIV/AIDS issues.
Ying Lowrey, PhD, 2008
In 2008, Ying Lowery, PhD was a professor and senior economist living in the United States. Earlier in her life, however, she served as a community health care provider in rural China, what would become known as "barefoot doctor." In this brief interview segment produced by the National Library of Medicine for the exhibition Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health, Dr. Lowrey recalls one case: "I held this baby for the whole night and while I read the book to try to find out exactly what the problem was and constantly gave her water and gave some medicine. And the next morning this baby opened up her eyes and then she looked at me."