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

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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Prof. Maria F. Cortés, DDS, MSc

Prof. Maria F. Cortés, DDS, MSc

Dr. María Fernanda Cortés Sylvester is a Dentist based in Santiago de Chile. She is a Specialist in Dentomaxillofacial Radiology and has also a Master’s degree in Temporomandibular disorders and orofacial pain obtained at the Neapolitan University Federico II, Italy.

Currently she is an assistant professor, lecturer of Human Anatomy at the Faculty of Dentistry of the Finis Terrae University, and  teacher in charge of the first year’s Anatomy course.

She also collaborates as a Postgraduate teacher for students of the “Anatomical Bases of Normal Imaging” diploma program at the Medical school of the same university.

Besides Anatomy, she is also an instructor of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology at the Dentistry faculty of University of Chile for under and postgraduates, and is a lecturer on the morphofunction module for first-years dentistry students at Finis Terrae University.

Due to her background in both Anatomy and Oral Radiology she is part of the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Society of Chile and the AACA (American Association of Clinical Anatomists).

Dr. Cortés has her own private practice in Santiago, Chile where she dedicates to all general aspects in dentistry, collaborating with a multidisciplinary group of dentists. At her private practice, she also focuses on the treatment of patients with temporomandibular disorders.

Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc is proud to have Dr. Cortés as a contributor to "Medical Terminology Daily" and as a consultant to our team.

La Dra. María Fernanda Cortés Sylvester es cirujano dentista con sede en Santiago de Chile. Es especialista en Radiología Dento Maxilofacial de la Universidad de Chile y tiene una Maestría en Trastornos Temporomandibulares y Dolor orofacial, obtenida en la universidad napolitana Universidad Federico II, Italia.

Actualmente es profesor asistente encargada de la cátedra de Anatomía Humana de la Facultad de Odontología de la Universidad Finis Terrae., en donde también colabora como docente en el postítulo de "Bases anatómicas de la Imagenología normal", programa de la Escuela de Medicina.

Además de Anatomía, es Instructor de Radiología Oral y Maxilofacial en la Facultad de Odontología de la Universidad de Chile en pre y postgrado, y colabora como docente en el módulo morfofunción para los estudiantes de primer año de odontología en la Universidad Finis Terrae.

Debido a su desarrollo en estas áreas es parte de la Sociedad de Radiología oral y maxilofacial de Chile y la AACA (Asociación Americana de Anatomistas Clínicos).

La Dra. Cortés tiene su propia oficina odontológica privada en Santiago, Chile, donde se dedica a la odontología general con enfoque en el tratamiento de pacientes con trastornos odontológicos y máxilofaciales.

Contact information

Dr. María Fernanda Cortés Sylvester

Dentistry Faculty
Finis Terrae University
1509 Pedro de Valdivia Avenue
7501015 RM Providencia
Santiago, CHILE

To contact Dr. Cortés  via e-mail, please use our "Contact Us" form.