John of Gaddesden
Doctor of Medicine at Oxford, Gaddesden's Rosa Medicinae
) was a bestseller for centuries. To cure the mentally ill, Gaddesden had pigs squeal in their ears and tickled them with a feather. His epileptic patients wore a cuckoo's beak around their neck
Dr. Oswaldt Gabelthouer
Court physician to a German duke in the 1500s , the eminent Gabelthouer wrote the widely acclaimed Book of Medicines
- Epilepsy: Skin a small mouse; remove its entrails except the lungs and liver; burn ... mash to powder ... a tablespoonful every morning; half portion for children.
- Nausea: ... Take the brains of a fox .. bake it, and give it to the patient on an empty stomach.
- Complete Insanity: Remove the soft inner part (of a loaf of bread) and replace with a complete ox-brain; bind on the patient's head and it will cure his brain and restore his mind.
On hearing that 7'8" giant Charles O'Brien was ailing, London' s greatest surgeon demanded his bones when he died, so they could be boiled down in a giant pot and put on display. O'Brien indignantly refused and made elaborate plans to be buried at sea, but Hunter had him tailed by detectives. When O'Brien finally died in 1783, Hunter's henchmen bribed the funeral director, switched the body and boiled him down in his big pot. London's Royal College of Surgeons now proudly displays the bones.
Treasurer of the Mint and signer of the Declaration of Independence
, the well-meaning Rush, after determining that mental illness was caused by poor circulation to the brain, hung his patients from the ceiling and "twirled" them for hours on end. Convinced that pain was curative, he also beat, stabbed and starved his patients. Dr. Rush's likeness now adorns the seal of the American Psychiatric Association.
Practicing at home on a grapefruit, Dr. Walter Freeman, of Yale, became the world's foremost practitioner of the lobotomy. Freeman thought it best to go right through the eyeballs, often with an ice pick from his kitchen drawer. During summer camping trips he'd pack his wife, kids and surgical tools into the family station wagon and do lobotomies at whatever hospitals happened to be nearby. Freeman genuinely thought he was doing good, and sent his patients postcards from the national parks.