Bodysnatchers to Lifesavers

Bodysnatchers to Lifesavers

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Three Centuries of Medicine in Edinburgh

Dorothy Crawford & Tara Womersley

ISBN: hardback - 9781906817589; paperback - 9781910745373

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Back cover text:

From dissecting bodies ‘donated’ by murderers to developing lifesaving treatments, the Edinburgh medical community has always been innovative and challenged entrenched medical ideas. This has ranged from setting up an inspirational public health system to discovering chloroform as an anaesthetic, which was fiercely opposed as pain relief for women during labour.

Bodysnatchers to Lifesavers gives a fascinating insight into the development of modern medicine and the leading role that Edinburgh played on the medical stage.

The tale of Edinburgh’s medical past is told through the stories of colourful characters including the bodysnatchers Burke and Hare, the evolutionist Charles Darwin, surgeons Joseph Lister and James Syme as well as Sophia Jex-Blake, who headed the campaign for women’s right to study medicine, and ‘James Barry’, Britain’s first female doctor.


A fascinating study of how science progresses, and why it sometimes does so at a seemingly slow rate.  Scottish Review of Books

An excellent account of how Edinburgh University Medical School has produced pioneers in anatomy, surgery and research for 300 years.  The Scotsman