Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 207

Just when you thought your brain could unwind on a Friday, you realise that it would rather be challenged with some good old fashioned medical trivia FFFF, introducing the Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 207

Question 1

Which animal has saved the most human lives?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Horseshoe Crab

If you’ve ever had an injection you probably owe your life to the horseshoe crab. Limulus amebocyte lysate or LAL is extracted from horseshoe crab blood to test vaccines and medical devices to ensure they are free of microbes.

Horseshoe crabs do not have an immune system and can not produce antibodies, therefore they have microbes that produce LAL which disables invasive bacteria or viruses by clotting around them. So add it to your vaccine and if there are no clots its safe to give.

Horseshoe crab blood sells for approximately $15,000 USD a litre


Question 2

What are your chances of surviving a plane crash?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Approximately 90%

In the USA between 1983 and 2000, there were 568 plane crashes with 51,207 survivors out of 53,487.

The best place to sit is behind the wings with a 69% survival advantage compared to first class up the front where the survival rate falls to 49%.


Question 3

How did Burke and Hare keep up with the supply of cadavers required for anatomy teaching in 1828?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

They murdered 16 people.

Edinburgh was a leading European centre of anatomical study in the early 19th century, in a time when the demand for cadavers led to a shortfall in legal supply. Scottish law required that corpses used for medical research should only come from those who had died in prison, suicide victims, or from foundlings and orphans.

The shortage of corpses led to an increase in grave robbing by what were known as resurrection men. Measures to ensure graves were left undisturbed exacerbated the shortage.

When a lodger in Hare’s house died, he turned to his friend Burke for advice and they decided to sell the body to a Dr Knox. They received what was, for them, the generous sum of £7 10s. A little over two months later, when Hare was concerned that a lodger suffering from fever would deter others from staying in the house, he and Burke murdered her and sold the body to Knox.

Burke and Hare’s actions were uncovered after other lodgers discovered their last victim, Margaret Docherty, and called the police.


Question 4

What are these? What were they used for?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Ophthalmophantome.

Surgical training tool from the early 20th century. Animal eyeballs were clamped into the eye sockets to train budding ophthalmologists


Question 5

Who said:

A good Doctor can foresee the fatal outcome of an incurable illness, when he cannot help, the experienced Doctor will take care not to aggravate the sick person’s malady by tiring and injurious efforts; and in an impossible case he will not frustrate himself further with ineffective solicitude

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Hermann Boerhaave (1668 – 1738)

This Dutch physician is best known today for Boerhaave syndrome (spontaneous esophageal rupture) which he described in 1724 in a classic example of clinicopathological correlation, when he was faced with the case of the Grand Admiral of the Dutch Fleet, a roast duck and three litres of juniper beer…

Legend has it that letters Boerhaave received bore no address and were simply mailed “To the Greatest Physician in the World”.


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Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five

Dr Neil Long BMBS FACEM FRCEM FRCPC. Emergency Physician at Burnaby Hospital in Vancouver. Loves the misery of alpine climbing and working in austere environments. Supporter of FOAMed, toxicology, tropical medicine, sim and ultrasound

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