This week we celebrate Australia’s first female Prime Minister and the longest tennis match in history with an exploration of the first female physician, Le Fort fractures, the Kehoe principle and the vestigiality of the human appendix
- Dr Elizabeth Blackwell (3 February 1821 – 31 May 1910)
- Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female doctor in the United States.
- She was the first openly identified woman to graduate from medical school, a pioneer in educating women in medicine in the United States, and was prominent in the emerging women’s rights movement.
- The erroneous ‘Kehoe Principle’ can be summarised as:
“The absence of evidence of risk = Evidence of the absence of risk.”
- Robert A. Kehoe, a toxicologist employed by the Ethyl Corporation, exemplified the ‘show me the data‘ mentality in defending the safety of leaded petrol. His stance was based on the rationale that there was no convincing published evidence of harm to humans. Subsequent research led to the complete removal of lead from gasoline in the United States by 1986.
- Infectious Disease: Cholera
- Poison: Arsenic
- Rene Le Fort described the classic patterns of fracture in his 1901 work where he highlighted three distinct fracture pattern:
- Le Fort I fracture, the palate is separated from the maxilla
- Le Fort II fracture, the maxilla separates from the face
- Le Fort III fracture, craniofacial dysjunction is present
- There are many stories about how Le Fort conducted his 1901 experiments. The following quotations are from Gartshore (2010):
“Most of us have heard stories about how he conducted his experiments. Some will be disappointed to learn that no cannonballs were involved, and that he did not throw heads off the roof of his apartment building! He was, in fact, meticulous in his methodology.”
“Most of his 35 experiments were done on whole cadavers before decapitation. He used a number of different wounding agents, which included a kick, a metal shaft, a wooden club, and the corner of a marble table. Blows to the head were delivered from different directions and with different intensities to mimic various traumatic conditions. In later experiments he held the head in a vice and applied a compressive force.”
Gartshore L. A brief account of the life of René Le Fort. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2010 Apr;48(3):173-5. Epub 2009 Oct 21. PubMed PMID: 19850380.
- The wombat