What’s in it for me? Discover untold stories from the history of modern medicine.

These days, many of us receive first-class medical care as a matter of course – and without batting an eyelid. Whether we’re admitted to the hospital for a routine checkup or for a life-changing operation, we’ve come to expect reliable, hygienic, and expert treatment as an almost-guaranteed norm.

But that hasn’t always been the case. History tells us that the emergence of modern medicine was accompanied by misconceptions, superstition, and wrong turns galore. From surgical procedures that could actually increase your risk of death to medical “cures” as useless as they were absurd, the history of modern medicine combines suffering, perseverance, and humor in one compelling narrative.

In these blinks, you’ll encounter stories that’ll make you glad you live in the twenty-first century. From medical falsehoods to head-scratching diagnoses, these tales will leave you thanking your lucky stars for the achievements of modern medicine. 

A short warning before we begin: Blink 5 describes an especially gory scene, and so contains sensitive or potentially triggering content.

In these blinks, you’ll find out

  • what prompted a sailor to start eating knives;
  • how the death of a Chinese laborer changed English surgery forever; and
  • why a British doctor pan-fried the head of an earl.