Newly acquired trove of historic photos captures evolution of medicine

In one image, a physician injects a Civil War veteran with morphine, a common practice that led to widespread addiction after the war. In another, a gold-framed daguerreotype from 1847, an unconscious patient sprawls on a white-draped table, surrounded by men in frockcoats and cravats, documenting one of the earliest uses of ether in operation.

Then there’s the haunting postmortem photograph of a 22-year-old physician who died caring for patients in an 1849 cholera outbreak — a poignant reminder of the risks medical professionals are facing today.

These are just some of the 15,400 photographs in a unique collection recently acquired by the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale that documents — in black-and-white and sometimes graphic detail — a history of medicine from 1839 to 1950.

Among the library’s largest and most notable acquisitions to date, the collection both celebrates the evolution of medicine and bears witness to untold human pain and loss.

The Stanley B. Burns M.D. Historic Medical Photography Collection includes images of physicians and medical scientists at work, operation rooms, hospital wards, laboratories, nurses and nursing, notable physicians, surgical specialties, and war medicine. There are also thousands of photos of patients and disease states. The collection is notable for its range of forms, including photo albums, framed photographs, publications, cartes de visite (small photos mounted on cardboard), cabinet postcards, and personal collections assembled by noted physicians. Virtually every format is represented, including boxes of lantern slides and 253 unique daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes from the earliest years of photography.

The Burns Collection is one of the most compelling and comprehensive visual records of medical history ever assembled,” said Melissa Grafe, the John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History and head of the Medical Historical Library, the medical library’s special collections repository. “From early depictions of surgery to profoundly personal family images and photo albums, it shows how deeply medicine is interwoven in human lives.”

The collection’s photographic albums, some assembled by physicians, bring alive important chapters of medical history, such as the conquest of yellow fever in Cuba in 1904, the international response to the pneumonic plague epidemic in China in 1911, and facial reconstruction at Walter Reed Army General Hospital documented by medical photographer Alice Becht in 1920.

Turning the pages of these albums, I am often struck by how visible the patient is, providing some window into past lives and, in some ways, human suffering,” Grafe said. “At other times the collection is a celebration of medicine, highlighting surgical moments and medical techniques that we may take for granted today.”

The wide range of materials complements many of the library’s existing collections, including striking images of mental illness published in the “Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière”; thousands of photo-postcards and other images that make up the Robert Bogdan Disability Collection; and more than 100 iconic portraits of Civil War soldiers.

Other materials in the Burns Collection document the development of medical education. Bound volumes of Dr. Howard Kelly’s “Stereo-clinic,” for

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LeAnn Rimes Proudly Shares Nude Photos as Her Psoriasis Returns for the First Time in 16 Years

Photo credit: Instagram
Photo credit: Instagram

From Prevention

  • LeAnn Rimes, 38, opened up about her journey with psoriasis in a new essay for Glamour.

  • The singer said that her skin condition flared for the first time in 16 years due to the “stress” of the pandemic and uncertainty that came with 2020.

  • Rimes is embracing her skin just the way it is.

LeAnn Rimes is not hiding her psoriasis anymore. In a new essay for Glamour, the singer opened up about her psoriasis diagnosis, and how the uncomfortable skin condition is flaring up for the first time 16 years due to the stress of the pandemic.

After attempting to hide her psoriasis for years, Rimes is embracing her skin the way it is. She shared the photos to Instagram in honor of World Psoriasis Day (October 29), writing in the caption that she’s ready to be honest about her experience with psoriasis. “And I want to give a voice to what so many other people are going through,” she said.

“You know when you say something you’ve been holding in for so long, and it’s such a sigh of relief? That’s what these photos are to me,” she said. “I needed this. My whole body—my mind, my spirit—needed this desperately.”

Fans flooded the post with messages of support. “I suddenly feel less ashamed of my psoriasis,” one fan wrote, while another person said, “You are so beautiful inside and out. I am always so amazed by you.”

In her essay with Glamour, Rimes shared that she was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was age two. “By the time I was six, about 80% of my body was covered in painful red spots—everything but my hands, feet, and face.

According to a recent review published in BMJ, nearly 3.4 million U.S. adults have psoriasis, and although the autoimmune disease can occur in children, it generally affects adults. The condition usually results in rashes, dryness, small bumps, and redness, but it can also cause joint stiffness, inflamed tendons, and mental health issues like depression.

“I tried everything I could to treat it: steroid creams, major medications—I even tried being wrapped in coal tar with Saran Wrap,” Rimes said, adding that she would also do everything in her power to hide it. “Onstage I’d often wear two pairs of pantyhose or jeans—even in 95-degree heat. Underneath my shirt, my whole stomach would be covered in thick scales that would hurt and bleed. For so much of my life, I felt like I had to hide.”

In her 20s, the singer discovered a treatment that kept her flare-ups at bay, and it wasn’t until this year that her bumps returned.

“All hell broke loose in the world—and inside of me, as I’m sure it did for so many other people amid this pandemic,” she said. “Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis, and with so much uncertainty happening, my flare-ups came right back.”

Rimes is not alone—many Americans are stressed in 2020.

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Parents Who’ve Lost a Baby Understand the Importance of Chrissy Teigen’s Bereavement Photos

Photo credit: Chrissy Teigen/Instagram
Photo credit: Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

From Woman’s Day

Trigger warning: this post discusses infant loss.

Melanie Rodger was a 20-year-old soon-to-be mom living on a military base in Japan with her husband, as excited as anyone would be when they’re expecting. She had enjoyed a textbook pregnancy for 32 weeks, imagining all the future memories she would make as a mom to a newborn son. Then, during a routine OB-GYN appointment, her doctor started to show concern: at 35 weeks pregnant her belly was measuring about the same as it was at 32 weeks. Something was wrong.

“The OB called me on a Friday night, and we had tickets to see the new Harry Potter movie out in town at a Japanese theater,” Rodger tells Woman’s Day. “I remember the phone ringing right before we left and I thought, ‘Who would be calling on six o’clock on a Friday night?’ So I answered the phone and it was the OB I had seen that day and he had told me that they were more concerned than they’d ever been my entire pregnancy.”

Rodger had been diagnosed with “intrauterine growth restriction” — a condition in which a fetus grows smaller than it should be and, as a result, is at higher risk of low birth rate, decreased oxygen levels post-birth, problems handling the stress of labor and delivery, trouble maintaining body temperature, and high red blood cell count. Her doctor told her they would likely induce her at 37 weeks, but not to worry: at most an induction would require a week’s stay at the hospital and some steroid injections for her son so that his lungs could develop. The following Monday, Rodger was induced.

“I remember this rush of excitement, like ‘OMG it’s finally that time to have a baby and he’s going to be here. He’s going to be our baby,'” Rodger says.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Melanie Roger
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Melanie Roger

After 32 hours of labor, baby Bennett was born at 2:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. Rodger wasn’t able to hold him, as he was rushed to the warming table and then quickly to the nursery. But still, she wasn’t worried. “When he was born alive and crying I didn’t think there was going to be any situation when he wasn’t coming home with us,” she says.

30 hours later, baby Bennett died.

So when Rodger saw the pictures Chrissy Teigen posted of her pregnancy and infant loss, she instantly knew how Teigen felt. The helplessness that follows the realization that there’s nothing more the doctors can do. The pain of having all your future plans — all the family outings, birthday parties, and lazy Sundays spent cuddling on the family couch — that you’ve conjured up in your brain suddenly vanish. The devastating emptiness and overwhelming sense of longing that leaves you almost breathless the moment you walk out of the hospital without a baby.

“I saw the first picture she posted, just looking down at her feet

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