Going to the doctor is never an easy decision to take and usually we avoid it as much as possible. There never seems to be enough time to let some total stranger poke needles into you and most of the times, the illness you have is something trivial.
Let`s face it, real life medicine will never be as cool as doctor House makes it look like and while most of us will appreciate not going through 3 to 5 painful unnecessary procedures and experimental treatments, going for a check-up has become one of the most tedious affairs. But you can`t just ignore how far medicine has become to ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible.
So next time you`re impatiently waiting for your turn to come to see your doctor, look back throughout history and think about it! You could do worse. There have been many risk-indifferent, badass doctors out there who make even doctor House look like a child`s play.
6. Kevin Warwick
Kevin Warwick, the man behind the cyborg, has brought hope to all SF lovers. Warwick was just another professor of cybernetics, when he decided to take his science a step further into the future. It all started with a small RFID transmitter implanted in his arm.
One snap of a finger could control doors, lights, heaters and basically any other computer-controlled device in his proximity. This was but a step however, to test how well his body, as well as the surroundings would react to the chip. Soon enough, he moved to bigger projects.
Only 4 years later, he had a more complex chip implanted on his nervous signals. The experiment developed so successfully, that they managed to link the signals produced by the new chip to a robotic arm that would copy the movements of Warwick’s own arm.
Later on, as an extension to the experiment, Warwick’s wife agreed to have a simpler such array implanted in her, aiming to create a form of telepathy between her and her husband using Internet signals. Although this experiment is still ongoing, it was a success form the very beginning, proving that communication purely between the nervous system of two people is possible.
His work seems taken out of a SF novel, but it`s not all fun and games. From his point of view, this is only the first step of his quest of becoming a better human. Counting The Terminator as one of his biggest influences for his work, Warwick is certain that people must find a way to improve themselves, so that they won`t fall behind technology.
Did his experiments turn him into the first Cyborg? Symbiosis between the biological and mechanical systems is just remarkable, as it is controversial. As a man who has experienced the future and lived to tell the tale, Warwick promised to continue pushing the boundaries of current research, hoping that one day we could be talking to each other using only our brains, rather than expressing ourselves verbally. If you ever wanted proof that machines can become humans, now we have it.
5. Dr. David Nott
“There is a buzz to cheating death,” he says and who can disagree with him? Doctor David Nott is the “Indiana Jones” of medicine, globe-trotting through some of the most dangerous places on Earth. Being an active member of Doctors Without Borders, he performed unthinkable surgeries along his career.
While other doctors were spending their days mistaking routine procedures such as appendectomies and tonsillectomies, doctor Nott was performing a first-in-his-life-time operation to save a boy`s life in Congo, with nothing else to guide him than a colleague`s text messages.
That`s impressive enough by itself, but doctor Nott`s most resonant success, is saving the life of Landina Seignon, Haiti’s 6-weeks-old “Miracle Baby. A survivor from birth, Landina already had a handful, suffering severe burns after she escaped certain death when her house burnt down.
After the earthquake hit 2 weeks later, she went unnoticed for 2 whole days, waiting patiently in the rubble for someone to find her. It was her lucky star that guided her on the operation table of doctor Nott, who knew right away that she was suffering from a very specific skull injury and that she would need professional care that wasn`t going to be found in Haiti.
Now the miracle part kicks in. After many legal struggles, not only did he manage to send the baby to London for treatment, but he also founded a charity that would provide for her expenses. Soon afterwards, a journalist managed to find her family, reuniting Landina with her mother and siblings.
Although he is currently focusing all his attention on Syria and there might be more heroic deeds to come from him in the future, there are at least two people out there, who will never forget what he did for them.
4. Dominique Jean Larrey
Nicknamed a “One-Man Medical A-Team,” Dominique Jean Larrey is often referred to as the father of modern military surgery, and not without merit either. Being a surgeon in Napoleon`s army, he spent most of his time on the battlefield alone with a shedload of wounded soldiers and a scalpel. So what`s left for you to do when it`s the 1800s and almost none of the tools you`d need in your procedures are invented yet? You`ll simply have to invent them yourself.
Larrey created pretty much everything a wartime medic could ever need, with the exception of Playboy perhaps. He developed a plan of rapid evacuation of the wounded, using artillery carriages converted into ambulances and almost single-handedly supported an entire army for a period of 18 years of campaigns, battles, and more than 400 military engagements.
In no time he became a master of wound management and limb amputation, treating patients according to the gravity of their injuries and not their rank or nationality. His personal best record was an inconceivable 200 amputations in 24 hours. If that`s not badass, then what is?
Not surprisingly, he was treated as a hero wherever he would go and he had almost full immunity during the war. We`d expect Napoleon to keep him alive at all costs, but even his bitterest enemies, the Duke of Wellington was impressed by Larrey`s talent, giving specific orders to his troops not to attack the French doctor under any circumstances.
With a plot twist that seems taken out of Hollywood, Larrey ended up being left for dead on the battlefield, gunshot wounded. Wearing the enemy`s colours, he was promptly arrested and was about to be executed until the Prussian commander happened to pass by and recognize him, releasing him immediately. Apparently his luck hadn`t run out yet.
3. Lidia Soto
There`s nothing that ruins your day more than a grenade to your face. Karla Flores was minding her business when all of a sudden an object hits and knocks her down, leaving her with a burning sensation in her right cheek. The next time she awakes, she`s in the hospital and a doctor tells her that it wasn`t a stone that hit her, but a live grenade. That`s just enough to spoil anybody`s mood.
Luckily for Karla it didn`t explore right away, but that didn’t mean she was out of danger, as the deadly explosive could go off any second killing everyone on a 10 meters radius. You can imagine why no one wanted to be the one operating on the victim. Since the problem couldn`t be delayed any longer, the hospital head asked for volunteers for the delicate task, moment in which Dr Lidia Soto stepped forward. If anyone had guts in that moment, it was her.
Along with two anesthesiologists and a nurse, she performed the excruciating surgery, with the help of the explosive experts of the Mexican army. It was like playing a morbid game of “Speed red wire or blue wire,” only this time, it wasn`t some Hollywood franchise.
After hours of steady hands and steel-like nerves, Soto succeeded in removing the grenade, leaving Karla Flores with just some scarring and the life-long tag of “Miracle Woman.” And frankly it`s not hard to see why.
2. Evan O’Neill Kane
If for most of us even a paper cut would be enough to make us nauseous and dizzy, the same can`t be said for Evan O’Neill Kane. Doctor Kane was, apparently, an ardent fan of Do-It-Yourself activities, planning and executing surgeries on himself on purpose.
In 1919 he self-amputated one of his fingers which had become infected, but it`s a long jump from that to a self-appendectomy. When one of his patients complained he had felt a slight discomfort during the surgery, Kane decided to test the local-induced anesthetic on himself.
Since he was chief surgeon, he probably considered he could get away with it. So when he decided to experiment and remove his own appendix, the staff stepped back and let him do as he pleased. The entire procedure took only 30 minutes and only two weeks later, doctor Kane was back in the operating theaters, this time performing surgeries on someone other than himself.
It was about this time that he started branding his patients, by tattooing his initial in Morse code on their skin, although it`s doubtful that any of them needed the reminder.
Eleven years later, he was back on the operating table, this time fixing his own hernia and although along the almost 2 hours long risky procedure, he was casually chatting and laughing with the nurses, he gave in to his old age, making a little concession and allowing another doctor to take part in the operation. As the tattooist, of course.
1. Robert “The Flash” Liston
“Time me, gentlemen!” Not something you want to hear while you sit wide awake on the operating table and some man in a white coat is wiggling a bone saw around. Robert Liston was a Scottish surgeon who practiced all over Britain, being best known for his amputation skills.
It was said that he could amputate a leg in less than 3 minutes, which was in fact good news for the patient since in that times anesthesia meant a sip of whisky and maybe a knock in the head with a hammer. It wasn`t long before he became known as the “fastest knife in the West End.”
So why wouldn`t you want a fast working doctor? Let`s just say that you can`t have both speed and accuracy. Considering the insanely fast pace he was working at, it sometime happened that he cut more than he was supposed to. The day that made Liston a legend in the medical field wasn`t his best one, but his worst.
In an unfortunate twist of events, he sliced through one of his assistant`s fingers, as he was amputating a patient`s leg at the hip. The patient`s sump and the assistant`s hand both turned gangrenous, due to the contaminated saw, which led to both their deaths in a matter of days.
And if you think it stops here, you`re about to be mistaken. This single surgery actually claimed three victims. As it happens, an elderly doctor was observing the procedure, when Liston accidently cut through his coat.
How it happened will probably remain a mystery but what`s certain is that there was so much blood spurting around, the old doctor didn`t know the blood he was covered in wasn`t his and he died of a heart attack. Liston, therefore, became the first surgeon to “achieve” a 300% mortality rate at a surgery. Luckily for him, there was no malpractice suit invented back in those days.