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Medical Terminology Daily (MTD) is a blog sponsored by Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc. as a service to the medical community, medical students, and the medical industry. We post anatomical, medical or surgical terms, their meaning and usage, as well as biographical notes on anatomists, surgeons, and researchers through the ages. Be warned that some of the images used depict human anatomical specimens.

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A Moment in History

Self-portrait, Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (Public Domain)
Self-portrait, Henry Vandyke Carter, MD (Public Domain)

Henry Vandyke Carter, MD
(1831 – 1897)

English physician, surgeon, medical artist, and a pioneer in leprosy and mycetoma studies.  HV Carter was born in Yorkshire in 1831. He was the son of Henry Barlow Carter, a well-known artist and it is possible that he honed his natural talents with his father. His mother picked his middle name after a famous painter, Anthony Van Dyck. This is probably why his name is sometimes shown as Henry Van Dyke Carter, although the most common presentation of his middle name is Vandyke.

Having problems to finance his medical studies, HV Carter trained as an apothecary and later as an anatomical demonstrator at St. George’s Hospital in London, where he met Henry Gray (1872-1861), who was at the time the anatomical lecturer. Having seen the quality of HV Carter’s drawings, Henry Gray teamed with him to produce one of the most popular and longer-lived anatomy books in history: “Gray’s Anatomy”, which was first published in late 1857.  The book itself, about which many papers have been written, was immediately accepted and praised because of the clarity of the text as well as the incredible drawings of Henry Vandyke Carter.

While working on the book’s drawings, HV Carter continued his studies and received his MD in 1856.

In spite of initially being offered a co-authorship of the book, Dr. Carter was relegated to the position of illustrator by Henry Gray and never saw the royalties that the book could have generated for him. For all his work and dedication, Dr. Carter only received a one-time payment of 150 pounds. Dr.  Carter never worked again with Gray, who died of smallpox only a few years later.

Frustrated, Dr. Carter took the exams for the India Medical Service.  In 1858 he joined as an Assistant Surgeon and later became a professor of anatomy and physiology. Even later he served as a Civil Surgeon. During his tenure with the India Medical Service he attained the ranks of Surgeon, Surgeon-Major, Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel, and Brigade-Surgeon.

Dr. Carter dedicated the rest of his life to the study of leprosy, and other ailments typical of India at that time. He held several important offices, including that of Dean of the Medical School of the University of Bombay. In 1890, after his retirement, he was appointed Honorary Physician to the Queen.

Dr. Henry Vandyke Carter died of tuberculosis in 1897.

Personal note: Had history been different, this famous book would have been called “Gray and Carter’s Anatomy” and Dr. Carter never gone to India. His legacy is still seen in the images of the thousands of copies of “Gray’s Anatomy” throughout the world and the many reproductions of his work available on the Internet. We are proud to use some of his images in this blog. The image accompanying this article is a self-portrait of Dr. Carter. Click on the image for a larger depiction. Dr. Miranda

Sources:
1. “Obituary: Henry Vandyke Carter” Br Med J (1897);1:1256-7
2. “The Anatomist: A True Story of ‘Gray’s Anatomy” Hayes W. (2007) USA: Ballantine
3. “A Glimpse of Our Past: Henry Gray’s Anatomy” Pearce, JMS. J Clin Anat (2009) 22:291–295
4. “Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter: Creators of a famous textbook” Roberts S. J Med Biogr (2000) 8:206–212.
5. “Henry Vandyke Carter and his meritorious works in India” Tappa, DM et al. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol (2011) 77:101-3


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Don Antonio de Gimbernat y Arbós


This article is part of the series "A Moment in History" where we honor those who have contributed to the growth of medical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, medicine, surgery, and medical research.To search all the articles in this series, click here.

UPDATED: Don Antonio de Gimbernat y Arbós (1734-1816). Spanish anatomist and surgeon. His complete name was Don Manuel Luis Antonio de Gimbernat y Arbós. He was born to a farmer’s family in 1734 in Cambrils (Tarragona), in what today is Cataluña. Gimbernat studied Latin and Philosophy at the University of Cervera, continuing his studies at the School of Surgery in Cádiz, where he graduated in 1762.

Gimbernat joined the Spanish Navy, but because of this capabilities, in 1765 he was offered the position of Anatomy Professor at the Royal School of Surgery in Barcelona. In 1768 he made an anatomical discovery that would render him immortal: he demonstrated the presence of the lacunar ligament. Furthermore he applied his knowledge of this ligament to improve on the surgical technique to reduce a strangulated femoral hernia. Gimbernat also discovered the lymph node found deep in the femoral ring (later to be known as Cloquet’s or Rosenmueller’s node)

In 1774 Gimbernat traveled through Europe to learn the latest surgical techniques. This trip was sponsored by King Carlos III. During his stay in London Gimbernat studied with John Hunter (1728 – 1793). In an attitude not common for a student at the time, at the end of one of Hunter's anatomical lectures on hernia, Gimbernat asked to go to the cadaver and demonstrate his findings. With approval of the teacher, he demonstrated for Hunter the lacunar ligament as well as his strangulated femoral hernia technique. Hunter watched the demonstration and at the end of it he just said "You are correct, sir".

Don Antonio de Gimbernat i Arb?s

Hunter was so impressed that from that day on he referred to the lacunar ligament as “Gimbernat’s ligament" and adopted his surgical technique. Gimbernat also showed Hunter his studies and technique to repair diaphragmatic hernias.

Manuel Gimbernat participated in the creation of the Spanish Royal School of Surgery, became a professor of surgery and  orthopedics, and in 1789 he was named First Royal Surgeon and president of all the surgical schools in Spain.

In 1793, Gimbernat published his “ Nuevo Método de Operar en la Hernia Crural” dedicated to King Charles IV,  which was translated as “A New Method of Operating for the Femoral Hernia”, into English in 1795.

In 1803 the Spanish king Carlos IV commissioned Don Francisco Javier de Balmis i Berenguer (1753 – 1819), a Spanish physician, to find a solution to the smallpox problem in the Spanish colonies in South America. While planning what was later to be known as the “Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition” Balmis received critical contributions from Don Manuel Gimbernat.

All of his titles and positions were removed by King Fernando VII because Gimbernat was a supporter of Napoleon during his invasion of Spain in 1808.  Sick, poor, blind, and with ailing mental faculties, Don Manuel Gimbernat died in Madrid on November 17, 1816.

Gimbernat was also a pioneer in ophthalmology, vascular surgery and urology. As for his incredible anatomical dissection capabilities, Gimbernat often said “mi autor más favorito es el cadaver humano" (my favorite author is the human body”

Personal note: My thanks to Dr. José Luis Bueno-López for his correction of the name of Gimbernat: "Although don Antonio de Gimbernat y Arbós was born in a town in Catalonia, Spain, he never wrote his name nor his contemporaries did, with the particle 'i' between his two family names (in the manner of the Catalan language) but with particle 'y' in the way of the Spanish language". There are many articles where Gimbernat's last name is written "Gimbernat i Arbos" (see link #3 on the Source section) which according to Dr. Bueno-López is incorrect. To read the article co-authored by Dr. Bueno-López on Gimbernat (#6 in our Sources section) click here.

Sources:
1. “Manuel Antonio de Gimbernat y Arbós. 1734-1816” Trauma (2012) 23: (1)
2. ” Gimbernat y Arbós, Antonio de (1734-1816) Loukas M et al World J Surg 2007; 31: 855-7
3. “Epónimos médicos: Ligamento de Gimbernat” Febrer JLF 1999
(Link) 
4. “Antonio de Gimbernat (1734- 1816). Anatomist and surgeon” Puig-LaCalle J, Mart?-Pujol R. Arch Surg 1995; 130: 1017- 20
5. “Antonio de Gimbernat, 1734-1816” Matheson NM. Proc R Soc Med 1949; 42: 407-10.
6. "Antonio Gimbernat y Arbós: An Anatomist-surgeon of the Enlightenment (In the 220th Anniversary of his ‘‘A New Method of Operating the Crural Hernia’" Arraez-Aybar LA, Bueno-Lopez JL. Clin Anat (2013) 26:800–809

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