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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
"Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc., and the contributors of "Medical Terminology Daily" wish to thank all individuals who donate their bodies and tissues for the advancement of education and research”.
Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 07:00 | Written by: Efrain A. Miranda, Ph.D. | Hits: 3591
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.
The title of this article is a reference to another article in this blog: “The unknown patient / donor” which honors all those who have anonymously donated their bodies to further the anatomical training of many in the medical field. They trusted that those who would use their bodies would do so ethically and with respect, but they did not know exactly how they were to be used or what was going to be done with their bodies.
Susan Potter was the exact opposite. She knew that her body was going to be coated with polyvinyl alcohol, frozen, cut into four pieces with a huge handsaw, and then it would be ground or milled into 27,000 slices of 63 microns each, which were to be photographed in exquisite detail.
She offered her body to science and spoke with Dr. Vic Spitzer, who had directed the Visible Human Project, the first digital cadaver in 1994. She agreed to the donation, but only after she had toured the facilities and only after she clearly understood what was going to her body and why.
The why is the most interesting part of her story. Susan had a very interesting medical history, including spinal surgery , double mastectomy, and a hip replacement. Normally her body would have been rejected, but doctors see this type of patients in their practices. Patients who are old, frail, with prior surgeries and a multitude of problems. This is why she was chosen
Susan C. Potter Image capture from a video
If images are needed, usually cadavers are scanned and imaged postmortem, but in her case, Susan underwent many imaging studies while she was alive. She was interviewed and filmed countless times so that her videos would be added to the digital cadaver that was going to be made of her, becoming de facto, a digital patient.
Susan donated her body in the year 2000 died of pneumonia in 2015. During those 15 years she became a friend of Dr. Spitzer, gave talks to medical students, and collaborated with this project.
National Geographic followed Susan for these 15 years and documented her life and death. You can read her story here or watch the video in this article. The development of the software continues. I am sure we will hear more from Susan Potter's contributions long after her death.
“Clinical Anatomy Associates, Inc., and the contributors of "Medical Terminology Daily" wish to thank all individuals who donate their bodies and tissues for the advancement of education and research”.