Photo Of The Day

Five surgeons participating in the amputation Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Five surgeons participating in the amputation of a man's leg while another oversees them. Coloured Aquatint 1793 By: Thomas RowlandsonPublished: - Printed: 17 October 1793

Five surgeons participating in the amputation
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
1793 By: Thomas RowlandsonPublished.

‘Time Me, Gentlemen’

 The Fastest Surgeon of the 19th Century

Dr. Robert Liston was known both for his showmanship and his effectiveness.

Before anaesthesia, speed was essential to minimizing pain and improving odds of survival.

 Liston had a reputation as one of the fastest surgeons around who could amputate a leg in less than two minutes. This was important because the faster the surgery the less pain the patient dealt with, which translated into higher survival rates. Besides the speed, surgery back then was also sort of like a fight between the doctor’s aids and patient. Each operation had to have multiple nurses holding the patient down because it’s probably human nature to not sit idly by as your leg gets cut off.

Liston’s career continued to improve alongside his skills with a knife. However, that all changed one day when he was performing a routine leg amputation.

The story goes that Liston was performing a routine leg amputation when the patient started thrashing around. In the chaos, Liston accidentally slipped and managed to cut one of his assistant’s fingers off and amputated more that he needed to of the patient’s leg at the same time.

Both the assistant and patient died a few days later of infections, but they weren’t the only casualties. A visiting doctor had also died in the operating room after Liston had accidentally slashed his coat. The doctor, who was an older gentleman, thought that the blood from the patient, which was squirting all over the place, was his own and had a heart attack.

All of this resulted in the first and only surgery with a 300 percent mortality rate because three people died from one patient’s operation. Liston’s reputation thereafter wasn’t for his skill as a surgeon, a profession he was actually very skilled at, it was for becoming the only person to kill people in the operating room who weren’t even on the table.

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Toilet review. Probably better not done in public

What a bunch of blouses

The Herald on Sunday is reporting about some dreadful school that doesn’t provide soap or hand towels. Apparently you become sick without either.

Children are becoming sick at one of the country’s most modern new schools, parents say, because for three years the board banned soap and hand towels, fearing that they harmed the environment.

The roll at Stonefields School, in an expensive new East Auckland subdivision, has soared to 300 since it opened in 2011. The architecturally designed, decile-9 school is known for innovative education methods, and adherence to principles of environmental sustainability.

The school, which has Greenstar accreditation for environmentally friendly design, has a healthy attendance rate of 93.4 per cent, the board says, with no unusual illnesses.

But some parents say their children are suffering due to the school founders’ green philosophy and have complained to the board about their children’s repeated bouts of illness.

Stonefields has stocked only hand sanitiser in bathrooms since it opened in February 2011.   Read more »

Important travel advice

Boing Boing

At Boing Boing they have important travel advice if you are faced with having to use a squat toilet at some stage:

Dr. Jane Wilson-Howarth is probably the world’s foremost expert on excretion, a real Buddha of Bowel Movements, and she’s not afraid to get into the details. “My technique when I’m teaching volunteers about to go abroad,” said the author of How to Shit Around the World from her UK office, “is that when you’re learning, you need to take everything off below your waist: socks, shoes, pants, underwear. Then squat over the toilet. Pour water over your bum, and with your left hand, just whittle away with your fingers and try to dislodge any lumpy bits while pouring water. And that’s actually not too unaesthetic, because any mess that goes onto your fingers comes off in the water.”

What to do: Most important: Cultivate the right mindset. Relax, pretend like you’ve been doing this for years. Remember, using your hand is (according Wilson-Howarth) actually more hygienic, not less, than using toilet paper. “You get good bacteriological cleaning with just rubbing your hands together with soap under running water four times,” she says, and cites a study which says you don’t even need soap. “It can be ash or mud, just rubbing your hands together under water with some kind of washing agent. Even dirt from the river bank will give you good bacteriological cleaning.”

I knew it – Old people do stink


I knew it…old people do stink, it’s been scientifically proven

You know that smell in retirement homes and your grandmother’s house? Mothballs and stale air may not be entirely to blame.

In a new study, researchers have confirmed for the first time that older people have a recognizable body odor that can’t be fully explained by grooming, diet, or other environmental quirks. In fact, the study found, this “old person smell” is distinctive enough that young adults can more often than not identify an old person by body odor alone.

This isn’t totally surprising. Scientists have known for years that a broad range of animal species-including mice, deer, otters, rabbits, and monkeys-undergo body-odor changes in adulthood, which may help the animals select suitable mating partners.

Humans have found better ways of screening potential mates, but like other animals, we may have once used age-related signals gathered from body odor to choose partners, avoid sick people, or distinguish kin from non-kin, says Johan Lundström, Ph.D., the lead author of the study.

Bringing classy back

Herald on Sunday

Kerre Woodham looks to be a convert to Malaysian Airlines with their new restriction on kids on the upper levels of their A380s, she suggests they extend the ban from children:

But a quick poll among my talkback listeners revealed that there was way worse to endure than crying kids.

Obese people who demand that the armrest be raised so they can wedge themselves in are a pet hate; as are stinky people who seem to have an aversion to deodorant or indeed any form of personal hygiene.

One person told me he saw an Auckland Airport official take a smelly passenger away for a shower before they could board their flight, and if that’s true give that man or woman a medal.

Being stuck by the toilets and seated next to people trying to join the mile-high club were all considered worse than a crying baby.

Still, the stance by Malaysian Airlines is a start. Today restrictions on screaming babies, tomorrow the obese, next week the smelly. Let’s bring classy back to international travel.


Proof Poms are gay

I’ve always suspected that Poms are becoming gayer by the day:

Men spend more time getting ready to go out than women, according to research.

On average men spend 81 minutes a day on personal grooming, including cleansing, toning and moisturising, shaving, styling hair and choosing clothes, the study found.

Women have their beauty regime down to a fine art and get hair, clothes and make-up done in just 75 minutes.

The research, carried out for Travelodge, found that on an average morning men spend 23 minutes in the shower, compared to 22 minutes for women.

Men then take 18 minutes on their shaving regime, compared to 14 minutes for women despite them having to trim legs, armpits and bikini line.

Men take a minute longer – 10 minutes – on cleansing, toning and moisturising.

I’d love to see the same survey done here. Bet it is way different.