Medical Examiners and the Rise of the English Undertaker Flashcards Preview

Principals > Medical Examiners and the Rise of the English Undertaker > Flashcards

Flashcards in Medical Examiners and the Rise of the English Undertaker Deck (56)
Loading flashcards...

  • Funeral embalming for almost 1500 years was rarely practiced except for intramural internment of religious leaders, war heroes, and the nobility.
  • During the Dark Ages, from 200 A.D. to 1200 A.D., there was considerable retreat in the study of medicine, surgery, and anatomy.

Embalming Enhanced the Growth of Medical Science


  • The Roman Catholic Church
  • Predestination
  • Moslem Domination

The Reasons that, During the Dark Ages, there was Considerable Retreat in the Study of Medicine, Surgery, and Anatomy


Resisted any advancement in medical arts, dessection, surgery, or study of anatomy was a violation of the body "the temple of the Holy Spirit." God would decide, through intercession with the saints, who would or would not survive sickness, plague, or war wounds.

The Roman Catholic Church


During the Protestant Reformation, 1400-1600 the concept of ______ was embraced, that is God had ________ the survival of individuals or the death of individuals thus medical study was a waste of time.



During the ____ _____ of Eastern Europe and North Africa a similar philosophy existed. The Muslim Koran dictated that life, illness, and death were in the hands of Allah.

Moslem Domination


1400-1800- The European University system successfully triumphed over religious prejudice. To successfully study anatomy, one must devise a system of preservation of dead bodies. To make cadavers with minimal amount of mutilation three systems evolved.

Rebirth of Science (Renaissance- Age of Enlightenment)


  1. Evisceration and immersion
  2. Desiccation
  3. Arterial Injection

The Three Systems that Evolved: Rebirth of Science


Pickling (Vatting).

Evisceration and Immersion


Allowing remains to dehydrate on a plaster of paris cast. (Leonardo Da Vinci made many of these casts).



The most recent and most successful of the three, it was widely used after William Harvey discovered blood circulation.

Arterial Injection


  • Oil of terpentine
  • Camphor Spirits
  • Oil of Lavender
  • Oil of Rosemary
  • Vermillion
  • Vinegar
  • Salt Peter

Or any combination of these.

Compounds and Chemicals used by Anatomists in the Early Middle Ages up to 1350


  • Zinc
  • Arsenic
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Bichloride of Mercury
  • Alcohol
  • Alum
  • Zinc Sulfate

Or any combination of these. These are the salts of heavy metals or metallic poisons.

Compounds and Chemicals used by Anatomists in the Later Medieval Period 1350-1800


  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Dr. Frederick Ruysch
  • Thomas Holmes
  • Marcello Malphighi
  • Girolamo Segato
  • Dr. William Harvey
  • Dr. Gabriel Clauderus
  • Dr. William Hunter
  • Jean Nicholar Gannal
  • Thomas Greenhill

Medical Anatomists from the Middle Ages to the Age of Enlightenment 1400-1850


Was believed to have developed a system of arterial injection. He dissected at least 50 bodies and made at least 750 anatomical plates for study. Many still exist today in museums in Italy.

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)


"Father of embalming." (World), A Dutch professor of anatomy at the University of Amsterdam who discovered a successful system of arterial injection which he combined with evisceration. He would, after treating the viscera, return it to the body cavities. Like most thinkers of this period he kept his procedure and his chemistry a secret.

Dr. Frederick Ruysch 1638-1731


"Father of Embalming in the U.S."

Dr. Thomas Holmes


"Father of Histology." An Italian thinker who founded microscopic anatomy (histology) and was the first to note the physiology of the capillary bed in 1660. (He used a microscope).

Marcello Malphighi (1628-1694)


A 17th century Florentine physician who injected remains with silicate of potash and then immersed (vatted) the body in a weak acid solution. The end result was a stone-like statue. (He used executed prisoners).

Girolamo Segato


The greatest of the historical physiologist; discovered blood circulation by injecting colored solutions into the arteries, and made his theories known to his students in 1618 at the Royal College of Physicians in England.

Dr. William Harvey (1578-1657)


A german anatomist who in the late 17th Century, in Altenburg, Germany, revealed in a publication the art of "arterial embalming without evisceration." In his book he described:

  • Surgical method
  • Balsamic Spirits
  • Cavity Treatment
  • Desiccation

Dr. Gabriel Clauderus


A ___ ____ to inject major arteries.

Surgical Method


His chemicals which he called ____ _____ which were made from one pound of cream of tatar dissolved in three quarts of water and then he added 1/2lb of Sal-Ammoniac (Salts of Ammonia).

Balsamic Spirits


After injection he would gravitate his balsamic spirits over the viscera and vat the entire body for five or six weeks.

Cavity Treatment


He would _____ the body in an oven or in the hot sun. The end result was an excellent cadaver or medical study.



Like Malphighi, he revealed the secrets of nature through the use of the newly invented microscope. He discovered another life form, the single cell organism, he is the "Father of Microbiology."

Anthony Van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)


He and his younger brother John Hunter (1728-1793), were prominent Scotch anatomists who published an injection technique for preserving human remains that became the standard of the day called "Hunterian Method of Preservation."

Dr. William Hunter (1718-1783)


  • Used the femoral artery for injection and femoral vein for drainage; area of the femorals called Hunter's Canal.
  • Chemistry: utilized chemicals popular in the early Middle Ages rather than salts of heavy metals; oil of turpentine, oil of lavender, oil of rosemary, and vermillion.
  • Would remove the viscera from the thoracic and abdominal cavities only after the remains have firmed. The viscera would be vatted in pure vinegar.
  • Formulated a crude hardening compound made of camphor, resin, salt, magnesium, and potassium to treat all cavities and orifices as well as the viscera.
  • The finished cadaver was placed in a plaster of paris bed or shell and allowed to dehydrate for as long as 4 years.

Hunterian Method of Preservation


  • Chemist in the French Army during the Nepoleonic Period. After discharge from the military, he gained employment making cadavers for anatomical study.
  • He formed burial societies, making himself president, from the French nobility and the new rising merchant case. (Wealthy end of the middle class who were willing to spend money for funeralization).
  • He was the first medical anatomist to combine embalming with funeralization which for him became quite profitable.
  • Wrote a book called "History of Embalming" a classic in the profession.

Jean Nicholas Gannal (1791-1852)


Wrote "Treatise on the art of embalming" published in 1705. It contained severe criticism for the British tradesman undertaker's inferior work. Greenhill defended the charter of the Barber Surgeon's monopoly on embalming.

Thomas Greenhill


Did not share information with each other because of the many wars that took place.

"The Thinkers" of the Renaissance Period