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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

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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Enrique Finochietto, MD

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.

Enrique Finochietto, MD (1881 – 1948) Argentinian surgeon and researcher, Enrique Finochietto was born in 1881 in the city of Buenos Aires. He studied in both public and private schools, entering medical school at age 16. He received his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1904.

Shortly after graduation, he became an intern at the Rawson hospital of Buenos Aires. Dr. Finochietto would become part of the staff of this hospital and be part of its staff all his life. He traveled to Europe to study with surgeons such as Calot, Kocher, Roux, and others, visiting France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy.

Upon his return he dedicated himself to surgery and endoscopy, and with the help of his brother Ricardo started research and invented many medical and surgical devices, including a motorized surgical table, endoscopic devices and surgical instruments, some of which are in use today throughout the world.

Enrique Finochietto and the Finochietto rib spreader
During World War I Dr. Finochietto worked for no fee (ad honorem) as surgeon-in-chief at the Argentine Hospital in Paris. For his dedication and work, France awarded him the Legion d’Honneur and the Red Cross.  He came back to Argentina and then traveled to the USA where he visited with the Mayo Brothers and Harvey Cushing. One of Dr. Finochietto’s mottos was “Only the surgeon who goes beyond his obligations serves his duty”.

Although mostly remembered for the Finochietto rib spreader, Dr. Finochietto tackled most types of surgery during his career, including neurosurgery, gastrointestinal, thyroid, thoracic, and orthopedic.

Dr. Finochietto died on February 17, 1948. His legacy in Argentinian surgery lives on through his school of thought, research and disciples.

If you click on Dr. Finochietto’s image (courtesy of Wikipedia) you will see an image of his namesake rib spreader (courtesy of Surgiway, France ).

1. “Memoir: Enrique Finochietto, MD (1881 – 1948)” DeBakey. ME. Ann Surg. 1948 Aug; 128(2): 319–320
2. “Enrique Finochietto” The Legacy of Surgery in Argentina” De La Fuente, SG. J Surg Ed (2007)64:2; 120-123
3. “El separador intercostal de Enrique Finochietto, el hospital Rawson, la escuela quir?rgica, y una an?cdota que los relaciona” Saadia, A. Rev Arg Cir Cardiovasc (2009) 3:3 149-150
4. “Rese?as hist?ricas: Enrique Finochietto” Parquet RA. Acta Gastroenterol Latinoam (2009); 39:18
5. “Surgery in Argentina” Beveraggi, EM. Arch Surg (1999) 134”438-444
6. “The Legends Behind Cardiothoracic Surgical Instruments” Ailawadi, G et al. Ann Thorac Surg (2010) 89:5; 1693-1700

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