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Edinburgh Medicine Timeline

Edinburgh Medicine Timeline

Stories and events from Edinburgh Medicine

Category: 1800s

Intravenous infusions in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in the 1970s

Thomas Latta was a physician in Leith when the second worldwide pandemic of cholera hit Scotland.  The disease spread widely.  It was still 20 years before John Snow proved beyond reasonable doubt that contaminated water was the cause, but therapies were also controversial.  Blood letting was a staple treatment. Latta had read the 1832 reports […]

painting of James Barry

James Barry (c.1789-1865) studied Medicine in Edinburgh 1809-12, his final examinations being deferred as he seemed too young. The Earl of Buchan wrote to the University authorities pointing out that the regulations made no mention of a minimum age, and Barry was allowed to sit. He defended his thesis and knowledge of medical cases to […]

In the 21st century you need to demonstrate competence and pass the relevant examinations to graduate with an MBChB degree and practise medicine (Philips, 2020). However until the end of the 19th century university trained doctors made up a tiny fraction of medical practitioners. The majority of health care, particularly in rural areas, was by […]

The pioneers of women’s higher education in the UK. The Edinburgh Seven were the first undergraduate female medical students at any British university. Even though Miss Garrett unsuccessfully applied to study medicine in Edinburgh in 1862, it was only seven years later, in 1869, that Sophia Jex-Blake, the leader of the Edinburgh Seven, gained public […]

From Bern to Bombay, Edinburgh to London. Edith Pechey passed medicalexams at the University of Bern in January 1877, her thesis was titled “Upon the constitutional causes of uterine catarrh”. Pechey then joined the College of Physicians in Ireland in May 1877. She worked as a doctor in Leeds and set up the Medical Women’s […]

From higher education in Paris to new medical schools for women in the UK. In 1872 the Court of Session (the supreme civil court of Scotland) ruled that the University of Edinburgh could refuse to give the women degrees and that they shouldn’t have even been admitted in the first place. This marked the end […]


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