what’s up doc?

c1847 daguerreotype of a famous operation in Boston – first use of anesthetic.

Toronto. .. as that wascally wabbit from Brooklyn said to Elmer Fudd in the movie cartoons of yesteryear. From its very beginning, photography has been a huge asset for medicine and dentistry.

This Southworth and Hawes plate at left shows a Boston operating room c1847/8 (Massachusetts General Hospital). It is a period recreation of the first “etherization” of a patient undergoing surgery on his jaw. This image and information is courtesy of the 1976 book, “The Spirit of Fact“. I bought my hard cover copy September 2, 1976. Only a few thousand were ever printed as far as I know. A Dover reprint is available but the plates are shown smaller and not as clear and accurate as  resolution and colour.

When the minicam craze hit, dentists made use of the 35mm cameras and accessories as shown by this c1935 Leica set up by dentist A L  Dunn of Santa Barbara California and featured in many editions of  the Leica Manual.

Over the years, other machines using the basis of photography came into use as diagnostic devices such as the x-ray machine to determine organ defects (highlighted by a dye injection). And the massive and noisy MRI machines used to analyze soft tissue issues (some without use of dye injections, some with) shown here are neck blood vessels. What’s up indeed!

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