Being a Medical History Blogger

1The year was 2010. I had just completed 9 years of university education which culminated in a PhD from the University of Oxford in the History of Science, Medicine & Technology; and I was about to start a 3-year postdoctoral research fellowship with the Wellcome Trust. I was on top of the world, academically-speaking.

Yet, for me, there was something missing.

It may not come as a surprise to you that I was a strange child, and the signs were there from the beginning that I would become an even stranger adult. I used to make my grandmother take me around to old cemeteries in Chicago when I was younger. I suppose you could say I have always been fascinated with death. But more so, I have always been fascinated with the past.

I’ve also always been a passionate storyteller. I suppose that’s what first attracted me to history as a subject. I’m so often moved by the stories I come across in my research—stories about the people who died, about the loved ones they left behind, and about the surgeons who opened up their dead bodies for the sake of medical science.

But back to 2010. I was feeling uninspired, and not a little burnt-out. I was tired of philosophizing and theorizing about the past. I wanted to fall in love with history again, and get back to the stories that once stirred my imagination. Thus, The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice was born.

I’m not going to lie. Not everyone agrees with what I’m doing. Some people think I am ‘bastardizing’ the discipline, and wasting my credentials. Others think I’m being purposefully sensational. And while there is no doubt that I hit upon sensitive subjects here, I hope that people come away with a real understanding of our medical past when they leave. I like to say: ‘Come for the skin book, stay for the history!’

Today, I am no longer part of academia. I have no institutional affiliation, and no funding. But I love what I do. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful to you, my readers, for your continued support and enthusiasm for the subject. Since its launch in 2010, The Chirugeon’s Apprentice has had nearly a million hits, and now has 45,000 fans from around the world. I am truly humbled.

Over the years, many of you have asked how you can support my work. I’ve always prided myself on providing free content for those who seek it. I believe the past doesn’t just belong to historians and scholars. It belongs to everyone. That said, I’ve recently launched a ‘Donate Page’ should you want to help defray the costs of running this website, or merely show your support for a freelance writer. You can also find a donate button below.

I absolutely do not expect it, but I do appreciate your generosity.

Thank you, Dr Lindsey (AKA The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice)

Donate Button with Credit Cards

7 comments on “Being a Medical History Blogger

  1. […] I launched a donate button on my website several weeks ago, I’ve been overwhelmed by your generosity and support. Then, a […]

  2. John Hughes says:

    Really enjoy your blogs and tweets; have always been fascinated by the more abstruse and obscure aspects of medicine too, and a graveyard lurker also – masses of interesting social history there. Only able to send a small donation right now; hope you get enough tto continue and to fund a book.

  3. julieallyn says:

    Love the unusual nature of your blog and yes the history and stories as well!

  4. Aquila says:

    I’m and auto-dydact. Not a credential to be seen, however, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I also didn’t get flim-flammed with the academic preconceptions. History is a love, genealogy is too. I’ve always been very curious and observant. I learned enough about medicine to upset my doctors more than once – occasionally shocking them that I had a far better idea what was going in than they did. Fascinating thing medicine, surgery etc. Love what you’ve posted and I’ve gone digging in the archives. Keep up the good work. Write the book, self publish and don’t worry about the proposal too much, publishing is changing tremendously. All the best.

  5. David Nicholas says:

    David Harley South Bend, IN

    I’m sorry to hear that your funding has dried up.  I hope some suitable opportunity arrives, whether in teaching or some other activity, such as publishing or exhibition design.

    I’m sure you’ve had plenty of people telling you that your many and varied activities have prevented you from doing the necessary research and writing.  Some day, I expect you will be able to look back and turn the various parts into a coherent story of opportunities seized.

    I’ll pop some $$$ into your account as soon as I get round to dealing with my credit card.  I’d rather put it on my personal card rather than the household card.

    Best regards, David

    • Thanks, David. That’s very kind of you. I’m working on a book proposal but I don’t think I’ll ever head back into academia as I thoroughly enjoy the creative flexibility that comes with being a freelancer. It’s been a great journey of discovery.

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