Monday, March 3, 2008

National Museum of Health and Medicine Images Online

If you just stick to the Capitol Mall on visits to Washington D. C., you will probably never end up at the wonderful National Museum of Health and Medicine. If so, you'll end up missing out on an awesome and ginormous collection of historically and medically fascinating items. This museum was founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862, and their collection now includes over 24 million items.
Skull radiograph above shows a 0.50 caliber bullet wound of the face. Injured while heating 0.50 caliber incendiary m.g. [?] bullet with a blowtorch while manufacturing an ash tray. Entrance just below right eyebrow. 11 days after injury, patient began hemorrhaging; blood flow so profuse it was impossible to carry out emergency procedures. Patient deceased. World War 2.

"Crossing your fingers" won't prevent venereal disease but a prophylaxis will. Venereal Disease Control Office, L.J. Stephens, Captain, Medical Corps, Jefferson Barracks, M.O.
As part of my radiology training, I got to spend 6 weeks at the AFIP course in radiologic pathology. Since the NMHM and AFIP shared the same building at the time, I spent a lot of my spare time wandering through the NMHM exhibits. Some of my favorites: bits of Abraham Lincoln's skull, President Garfield's assassin's spleen, an isolated humerus with flagrant osteomyelitis from a Civil War minnie ball wound, hand-written medical texts by Viet Cong medics, and artwork signed by a young Army physician: Captain Frank Netter, M.D.

It's great news to hear that the NMHM has been uploading their pictures to Flickr since September 2006, under a very liberal Creative Commons license. This is a great public domain resource for medical bloggers or anyone else interested in the history of medicine.

General Daniel Sickles' leg bones
, removed after the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.
Check out the following links to some of their images on Flickr at:


Other excellent images can be seen online at the Otis Archives Gallery.

(via Morbid Anatomy)

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