Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Dittrick Museum of Medical History at Case Western Reserve

I like Blue Highways and off-the-trail attractions.

I was in Cleveland.

So I examined exhibits for two hours, the only visitor at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History.

autopsy
19th Century autopsy
Located on the third floor of the Allen Memorial Medical Library at Case Western Reserve University, the Dittrick is small, but immensely informative. Medical instruments (photo below), a 19th century physician’s office, an apothecary (photo below), x-ray equipment (photo below).

The 11-year-old within me noticed that the x-ray apparatus was plugged in, dials within reach. Would it light up?

I was not tempted.

I am no doctor, but I’ve been poked by many and can appreciate the current state of medical science when I look into the medical bag of a Civil War surgeon and visualize him using his bone saw.

The well-presented exhibits included:

• A fascinating history of contraception…condoms, diaphragms, douches, IUDsX-ray table that looked like instruments of torture, pills, and a 19th century physician’s book that carefully and with warmth described the benefits of coitus interruptus.

• The complicated and clever evolution of instruments as simple as thermometers and stethoscopes.

apothecary• How urinalysis came to be a reliable diagnostic tool.

• Early x-ray practice, including burns and overdoses incurred by practitioners.

medical instruments

• The engineering and creativity that went into the design of the retinascope and the otoscope …before electricity!

The Dittrick is within walking distance of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Botanical Gardens.

Well worth the side trip.

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