University of Otago Otago Medical School Alumnus Association

News and talks

Otago Medical School Alumnus Association
2014 History of Medicine Series

Microbes Matter (1): Contagion - the seeds of an idea

Thursday 29 May 2014 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Bill Gillespie

What we would today call infections have been recognised and their characteristics described for over 2500 years. Yet 150 years ago, when today’s New Zealand cities were young but active, the idea that microscopic organisms might be the cause, either of epidemic diseases such as plague, cholera or typhus, or of non-epidemic disorders, or of infections in open wounds remained highly controversial.

Anticontagionists wrote disparagingly about the “absurd hypotheses” of contagionists. Indeed, their view was respectable, even dominant, in the first half of the 19th century.

This talk will explore the long history of these opposing ideas, and set the scene for acceptance, and the practical application, of the germ theory.

Microbes Matter (1): Contagion - the seeds of an idea flyer (PDF 380 KB)

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

 

Body Language: The Origins and Use of Medical Terminology

Thursday 24 April 2014 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Professor Terence Doyle

The hospital discharge summary read 'The histology of the mediastinal juxta-auricular lesion, previously considered to be either a hamartoma or teratoma, is most consistent with metastatic melanoma.' Deciphering this for the lay person it might read 'the microscopic appearance of the lump in the middle of the chest next to the ear shaped bit on the left of the heart, previously thought to be made up of tissue which is usually found there but in an unusual arrangement or else of tissue foreign to that location, is most consistent with a clump of black stained cells which have come from somewhere else.'

In medicine, the vocabulary is derived mainly from Greek and Latin words with additions from Norman French and Old English. Many are compound, with one or more roots augmented by prefixes and suffixes. Some are named after mythological figures and others, like The Circle of Willis, after their discoverers. Over time the language and ideas of medicine have been incorporated into literature. This talk looks at the history of how medical words have been formed and used from the Greeks, through Shakespeare to the modern era.

Body Language: The Origins and Use of Medical Terminology flyer (PDF 200 KB)

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

 

Pituitary Surgery and the "Combined Eye" of Surgeon and Artist

Thursday 27 March 2014 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Mr Reuben Johnson

The trans-sphenoidal approach to the pituitary gland and sella turcica was pioneered over a century ago. This story of the development and near extinction of this technique is the story of the founding fathers of neurosurgery and their apprentices. This master-apprentice relationship was also mirrored in the artists who documented their work.

Pituitary Surgery and the "Combined Eye" of Surgeon and Artist flyer (PDF 160 KB)

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

 

Gout—the links from Roman times to 18–19th Century England

Thursday 27 February 2014 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Professor Rob Walker

Sometimes known, with some justification as "the disease of kings", gout has been with us forever, and while lifestyle factors play a part in causing it, so do genes, and it is no longer, and probably never was, the prerogative of the rich. It comes up again and again in the history of medicine and in art history, and it's an interesting story.

Gout—the links from Roman times to 18–19th Century England flyer (PDF 160 KB)

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

 

Otago Medical School Alumnus Association
2013 History of Medicine Series

Piltdown Revisited

Thursday 31 October 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Dr Elizabeth Whitcombe

On December 18, 1912, an extraordinary discovery was presented by Charles Dawson, FSA, FGS, a country solicitor and eminent amateur antiquarian and Arthur Smith Woodward, FRS, FGS, Keeper of Geology at the Natural History Museum, London, to a packed meeting of eminent scientists at the Geological Society of London: fragments of a cranium and mandible dated by association with ancient Sussex gravel-beds near Piltdown, Sussex, to the Pleistocene.

These relics of so ancient an ape-man—the earliest such known, in fulfilling an evolutionary prediction of a 'missing link', were given the distinction of a new species: Eoanthropus dawsonii ('Dawn man') after their discoverer.

The circumstances of the discovery, detailed descriptions and reconstructions of the fragments and a brief summary of the discussion which followed the presentation were published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, January 1913 while Eoanthropus dawsonii took up residence in the Main Hall of the Natural History Museum—and remained there until 1953, when he was removed to the basement.

The ascent—and descent—of Piltdown man, reconstructed in detail from contemporary records, has much to teach us, in this centenary year.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

Piltdown Revisited flyer (PDF 100 KB)

Robert Reynolds Macintosh (not his real name) - a Kiwi who should be famous (Part 2)

Thursday 24 September 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Dr Mack Holmes

The youngest son of Charles Nicholson Macintosh, newspaper editor and mayor of Timary in 1901, and his wife, Lydia Beatrice Thompson, he became the first professor of anaesthetics outside the United States.

This lecture—part 2—will deal with his career after the end of the Great War; his successful practice in London; his appointment to the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthesia in 1937; and his later career.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

Robert Reynolds Macintosh (not his real name) - a Kiwi who should be famous (Part 2) flyer (PDF 150 KB)

The appearance of the normal face is dependent upon function: A history of cleft palate surgery in New Zealand

Thursday 22 August 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Kirsty Clarke

This presentation examines the work of Percy and Cecily Pickerill, a husband and wife team of plastic surgeons who ran the Bassam Hospital in Lower Hutt between 1939 and 1967. Their small, private plastic surgery clinic performed the majority of operations on babies with facial deformities during this period.

Examination of the Pickerills' publications and private correspondence reveal the combination of aesthetic and functional motivations for performing complex operations on infants as young as ten weeks.

These writings also demonstrate the alliance between plastic surgery and psychiatry by describing the role the Pickerills, as surgeons, played in protecting the child from the emotional trauma of growing up with facial disfigurement.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

The appearance of the normal face is dependent upon function flyer (PDF 150 KB)

 

Robert Reynolds Macintosh (not his real name) - a Kiwi who should be famous (Part 1)

Thursday 25 July 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Dr Mack Holmes

The youngest son of Charles Nicholson Macintosh, newspaper editor and mayor of Timary in 1901, and his wife, Lydia Beatrice Thompson, he became the first professor of anaesthetics outside the United States.

This lecture—part 1—will deal with his early life, and his experiences in the great war of 1914–1918.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

Robert Reynolds Macintosh (not his real name) - a Kiwi who should be famous (Part 1) flyer (PDF 250 KB)

 

The Medicalization of Madness in Colonial Fiji

Thursday 30 May 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Associate Professor Jacqueline Leckie

This presentation examines the encounter between indigenous and community constructions of madness - in that most extreme site of confinement - the lunatic asylum. This was established in Fiji in 1884. The asylum was an early hospital in the Pacific, indeed among colonies worldwide. It still functions as St Giles Psychiatric Hospital.

It was a microcosm of the broader encounter and engagement between Fijian communities, the state and medical authorities over the care and confinement of those considered lialia, pagalaa or mad.

This was also part of the general medicalization of mental illness in Fiji.

The talk will trace the tensions in the management of madness at the asylum and what this might tell us about the nature of mental illness in an ethnically complex colonial society.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

The Medicalization of Madness in Colonial Fiji flyer (PDF 280 KB)

 

Arthur Conan Doyle, a spirited medical author

Thursday 2 May 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Dr Ted Nye

Conan Doyle was born in 1859, the third in a family of ten. He graduated from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and spent several years in General Practice in the south of England. However, Doyle had a penchant for writing and saw himself as a serious writer of historical tales.

Sherlock Holmes was seen as a diversion, but soon was taken up by the Strand magazine. Sixty Holmes stories followed.

Where just about all of Doyle's prodigious output is forgotten, Sherlock Holmes lives on.

Doyle's life and career must also be seen against a background of biology and medicine, that was transformed in Doyle's professional lifetime.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

Arthur Conan Doyle, a spirited medical author flyer (PDF 220 KB)

 

War and Peace - Pain and Progress

Thursday 28 March 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Professor Keith Jeffery

The illustrated talk continues the series looking at the history of the Otago Medical School.

In spite of an era that included two world wars, an influenza pandemic and economic recession, medical and surgical advances continued. The medical school intake increased, teaching was improved and research was more soundly established.

Alumni and staff made significant contributions in many areas. These included the introduction of new methods of managing war injuries, and assisting (Sir) Howard Florey and (Sir) Hugh Cairns in the first field trials of penicillin.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

War and Peace - Pain and Progress flyer (PDF 390 KB)

 

The Greatest Mother in the World: The Early Red Cross in New Zealand

Thursday 21 February 2013 at 5:15pm
Room G30, Hunter Centre, Great King Street, Dunedin

Presented by Professor Margaret Tennant

The Red Cross and the first Geneva Convention date back to the early 1860s, but a Red Cross presence in New Zealand dates back to the First World War, and an independent national society was not officially recognised at government level until 1932.

The Red Cross grew out of war, particularly the 1859 Battle of Solferino, its horrors graphically recorded by Red Cross co-founder, Swiss businessman Henri Dunant. The First World War established its credentials as a leading force to assist the sick and wounded on the battlefield. But after that war, the Red Cross internationally moved into a wider ‘peacetime’ role, prioritising the struggle against disease.

Professor Tennant's presentation will look at the emergence of the Red Cross in New Zealand, and its struggle to find a place within the constellation of voluntary organisations under this ‘peacetime’ mandate. Her discussion will include the relationship of the Red Cross with the medical and nursing professions, with St John, and with the New Zealand government during the first 30 years of Red Cross in New Zealand.

This is a public lecture. All interested are welcome.

The Greatest Mother in the World: The Early Red Cross in New Zealand flyer (PDF 80 KB)

 

Class of 1979 Undergraduate Medical Scholarship recipient Sara Trafford receiving her award from Professor Mike Hunter.
Class of 1979 Undergraduate Medical Scholarship recipient Sara Trafford receiving her award from Professor Mike Hunter.
Class of 1979 Undergraduate Medical Scholarship recipient Blake Henley receiving his award from Professor Mike Hunter.
Class of 1979 Undergraduate Medical Scholarship recipient Blake Henley receiving his award from Professor Mike Hunter.

Class of 1979 Undergraduate Medical Scholarships Awarded

The Class of 1979 Undergraduate Medical Scholarship was established in 2005 by members of the MB ChB Class of 1979.

One or two scholarships are awarded annually to a second or third year (Early Learning Medicine) medical student.

The inaugural award was made in 2009.

Financial difficulty or hardship which may limit the student's ability to otherwise complete the medical course is the primary criterion by which recipients are selected, in conjunction with academic ability and personality.

In 2012 there were two recipients selected:

  • Sara Trafford (second year MB ChB)
  • Blake Henley (second year MB ChB)

The scholarships were awarded by Professor Mike Hunter.

Read Blake Henley's report of his second year medical studies