A History of Limb Amputation

Authors: Kirkup, John R.

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About this book

A History of Limb Amputation traces humanity’s long experience of natural amputations due to congenital absence, disease, frostbite, toxins, domestic and wild animal trauma, and for non-medical reasons related to punitive, ritual, and legal actions, ultimately leading to the development of elective surgical amputation.

While the evolution of surgical techniques forms a major chapter in the book, many ancillary problems are addressed including the control of hemorrhage and infection, the approach to pain relief, the development of suitable instruments and equipment, and the invention of prostheses, all suitably illuminated with case histories and relevant illustrations. In addition, alternative procedures designed to avoid amputation, increasingly important in the last two centuries, are debated, and factors associated with self-amputation in extremis, not rare according to press reports, are also examined. A separate chapter considers the philosophy and interpretations of society, patients, and surgeons faced with amputation, particularly before anesthesia.

The book will be of interest to medical and social historians, surgeons, and nurses undertaking amputations, limb-fitting surgeons and prosthetists, limb manufacturers, and amputees themselves.

About the authors

John Kirkup, MD, MA, FRCS, Dip Hist Med studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and St Mary’s Hospital, London, qualifying in 1952. After service in the Royal Navy he worked as an orthopedic surgeon for the Bath Clinical Area, Somerset, introducing ankle joint replacement to the United Kingdom in 1976.

Always intrigued by the evolution of surgery from its pre-historic roots, Mr Kirkup edited facsimiles of Wiseman’s Of Wounds (1676) and Woodall’s Surgions Mate (1617), published A Historical Guide to British Orthopaedic Surgery, and contributed chapters in books on Ambroise Paré, on pain management during surgery, on trepanation, on the battle against infection, on damaged surgeon’s equipment of the Mary Rose shipwreck and on instrumentation generally. He published a wide variety of journal communications including and extended series on surgical instruments and on the history of foot and ankle surgery, and twelve surgical entries in the New Dictionary of National Biography. He has been Hunterian, Vicary, Sydenham and Hamilton Russell Lecturer, was awarded the Sir Arthur Keith Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and has advised widely on museum collections, especially in the UK, Portugal and Australia.

Formerly President of the British Society for Medical History, President of the History Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, Honorary Archivist of the British Orthopaedic Association and Chairman of the Historical Medical Equipment Society, Mr Kirkup is currently Honorary Curator of the Historical Instrument Collection at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and Lecture in Surgical History to the Society of Apothecaries, London. He is also about to publish a book on the evolution of surgical instruments.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“After a description of the more common causes for amputation of the limbs, the author analyses more extensively the different causes:–trauma cases of various etiologies,–ritual, punitive, legal amputation,–iatrogenic causes,–war amputations. … A very uncommon book … bringing some interesting overview along the history of surgery.” (Jean-Yves Jenny, European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology, Vol. 21, 2011)

“This is a well written and beautifully illustrated history of amputation, describing the causes and techniques of amputation, and ending with more recent developments in rehabilitation and prosthetics. … the book should be seen as a fascinating insight into how surgical and anaesthetic techniques, and operative instruments, have developed over the centuries. … Surgeons and physicians from a variety of different specialties, and anyone with an interest in medical history, will enjoy it.” (I. Loftus, British Journal of Surgery, Vol. 95, October, 2008)

“The author has provided a thoroughly researched history of human limb amputation from prehistory to the present from both a patient’s and a physician’s perspective. … ‘The author’s goals are worthwhile because there is no similar book that provides specific information on amputation, a topic of major concern while we are engaged in war. … The author has broadly and carefully treated an unattractive subject with professional detachment, patient empathy, and a concern for the level of societal acceptance.” (Ralph D. Arcari, National Taiwan University Library, August, 2007)

“A History of Limb Amputation is a work of scholarship and comes from the pen of an erudite writer. … the most elevating theme in Kirkup’s book is the strength of the human spirit, for so many cases of amputation are related without any form of anaesthetic, in which the patient exhibited extraordinary calm and patience. … In short this book should be bought and read by all aspirants to medicine. Law Lords and NHS managers would also come to no harm from reading it.” (R. Birch, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vol. 90 (18), October, 2008)


Table of contents (13 chapters)

Table of contents (13 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $229.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-84628-509-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $289.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-1-84628-443-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $289.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-1-84996-602-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
A History of Limb Amputation
Authors
Copyright
2007
Publisher
Springer-Verlag London
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag London
eBook ISBN
978-1-84628-509-7
DOI
10.1007/978-1-84628-509-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-84628-443-4
Softcover ISBN
978-1-84996-602-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 184
Number of Illustrations
99 b/w illustrations
Topics