James Miranda Steuart Barry (c. 1789 – 25 July 1865)

I am publishing Dr. James Barry’s post today, Jan 28, even though we do not truly know the day he was born. Over his life, Dr. Barry changed the “when” as often as the “where”, but historians believe it must have been today. A military surgeon in the British Army, Barry served in South Africa before rising the ranks, culminating … Read More

Wilder Penfield (January 26, 1891 – April 5, 1976)

He invented new methods to map the brain. He perfected wake-patient brain surgeries. He began the work that explains hallucinations and brought forward the framework showing how deja vu works. He started the field of neuropsychology. Yet, if you asked Wilder Penfield what his most memorable moments were, he always responded with “that would have been the time we were … Read More

Kary Mullis (December 28, 1944 – August 7, 2019)

A surfer dude if there’s ever been one, he was known to leave meetings or come late to work to “catch that ten foot face.” He identified so much with surfing, he insisted on being shown topless, carrying a surf board, on his autobiography. The publisher talked him into, at least, wearing something over his chest. He claimed we’d been … Read More

Korbinian Brodman (17 November 1868 – 22 August 1918)

For a man who would later neatly classify the areas of the brain, Korbinian Brodman wasn’t one to neatly order his life. He studied Medicine in Munich, Würzburg, Berlin, and Freiburg, left for a while, the returned to pick up his diploma in 1895. Not content, he went back to school and restudied parts of the curriculum in Lausanne before … Read More

Åke Senning (14 September 1915 – 21 July 2000)

Senning was born September 14 1915. He didn’t want to become a physician, wanting to be an engineer instead, but it somehow happened. After watching some open heart surgeries, however, he found his passion and trained as a cardiovascular surgeon. The surgeon he watched, Clarence Crafoord (a hero by himself), would become his mentor in 1948 and, recognising Åke’s talents, … Read More

Franz Schmidt (1555 – June 14 1634)

A healer’s job is to heal. And this list is ordered by their birthdays. So, why would I add an executioner with no known birthday to it? Few sentences had as much an impact on my decision to become a medic than the one attributed to Asklepios: “Sedare dolorem, opus divinum est.” — the soothing of pains is the highest … Read More

John Snow (15 March 1813 – 16 June 1858)

If you only ever heard of John Snow, commonly known as the father of epidemiology in regards to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, you’d be forgiven for thinking this to be his only, and greatest, claim to fame. But we don’t celebrate the well known in this series as much as we discover new and exciting things that make trailblazers into heroes … Read More

Willem Johan (Pim) Kolff (February 14, 1911 – February 11, 2009)

Know what’s hardcore? Being an active resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, that’s hardcore. If, by the by, during that time you also start the first blood bank in Europe, build the first dialysis machine from car parts and juice cans, and hide a Jewish colleague and his son from SS officers, you’re ultra hardcore. Meet Pim … Read More