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By Philip A. Mackowiak, MD, FACP
"Fascinating ... An enjoyable read" ~ New England Journal of Medicine
Post Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries by Philip A. Mackowiak, MD, FACP, examines the controversial lives and deaths of 12 famous men and women. Post Mortem answers vexing questions such as:
- Was Alexander the Great a victim of West Nile virus?
- What caused the gruesome final illness of King Herod?
- Was Joan of Arc mentally ill during her heresy trial?
- Could syphillis have made Beethoven deaf?
- Did Edgar Allan Poe drink himself to death?
This new book also investigates the mysterious deaths of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, the Greek statesman and general Pericles, the Roman Emperor Claudius, Christopher Columbus, Mozart, Florence Nightingale, and Booker T. Washington.
Post Mortem traces 3,500 years of medical history from the perspective of what contemporary physicians thought about the diseases of their renowned patients and how they might have treated them. It follows the case history format of today's clinical pathologic conferences, describing the characteristics of the illnesses in question, and bringing to life the medical history, social history, family history, and physical examination of their famous victims. Post Mortem then sifts through the medical evidence, testing a wide range of diagnostic theories against the known facts and today's best scientific research, to arrive at the diagnosis most consistent with the illness described in the historic record.
Post Mortem was inspired by the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference hosted by Dr. Mackowiak since 1995 for the VA Maryland Health Care System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Mackowiak is director of medical care at the VA Maryland Health Care System and professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has taught the art of clinical diagnosis to medical students and graduate physicians for over three decades. Dr. Mackowiak combines his clinical experience with his love of a good mystery story and his knowledge of popular history to make Post Mortem a fascinating and entertaining book!