The amazing story of the british surgeon James Barry

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There is a popular belief that the term “c-section” must be the roman emperor Julius Caesar. Something wrong, as the elder statesman, was born of natural childbirth, and his mother, by the name of Aurelia, died when this was 45 years. And while it is true that this procedure has been used since time immemorial, so it is only resorted to when the child had died and therefore could not be extracted to the baby by that method.

The improvement of the hygienic conditions and new tools allowed that to principles of the contemporary Age it could be used it for complicated births and not only when the mother had died, with the honor of practicing one of the earliest caesarean sections documented the surgeon James Barrybeing the baptized child with his name as a tribute. But this is only one more episode in the exciting life of galen.

The career of the irish physician who participated in the battle of Waterloo

Born in 1795 in Northern ireland, Barry showed from a very young age his passion for medicine, entering the University Edinburgh in 1809. His mother and his uncle, the noble David Steuart Erskinehad to intervene on their behalf on several occasions, as the face childish and beardless student made you think of the teachers at the center who was much younger than he claimed to be.

After obtaining his bachelor’s degree he enlisted as assistant hospital for the British Army, participating in the battle of Waterloo and serving in the colonies indies. He later moved to The city of Cape townin South africa, where in addition to the above-mentioned c-section participated in various works that improved the supply of drinking water and reduce the impact of diseases such as cholera or hepatitis.

The Battle of Waterloo by Jan Willem Pieneman, 1824, Dutch painting, oil on canvas./Everett - Art. Shutterstock.com

The Battle of Waterloo by Jan Willem Pieneman, 1824, Dutch painting, oil on canvas./Everett – Art. Shutterstock.com

After this he travelled to various countries such as Malta, Jamaica, and Canadain what may be considered a brilliant career, which, however, was permanently dotted with disputes and misunderstandings with their superiors. Their clashes with the local authorities and military were a constant, and, in particular, was especially striking, giving the same treatment to all their patients, whether they were poor or rich, something that without doubt was a challenge in the mentality of such class of the time.

After contracting the yellow fever his health began to deteriorate, which is why he moved back to the Reino Joined, where he retired in 1864 and died a year later in London.

The last will of James Barry

One of the conditions that James Barry had put in his will was that his body was not prepared for burial, and that they would proceed to sepultarlo with the same clothes on him at the time of death. Something that was not fulfilled, and that caused a great surprise since when you examine the body of James Barry you could see that in reality it was… a woman.

His real name was Margaret Ann Bulkleyand for the stretch marks from your abdomen, one can infer that at some time could be pregnant. Apparently, and despite the suspicions that always arose, he managed to maintain this deception for decades, only being his mother, his uncle, and perhaps the governor of the colony of Cape Town, Charles Somersetwith the believed that she had an affair, who knew of his true condition.

Why you decided to adopt this identity is subject to speculation. But the logic leads us to think that he had to opt for this since it with the mentality so conservative that he had at that time would have been impossible to fulfill his calling of study medicine and join the Army. The face is beardless many problems caused him in his early years, of course, was the result of the condition of a woman, and it is more likely that this character is so surly that he displayed with almost all of it was only a lid with which to offset the attacks he received for his light masculinity.

The authorities of the time decided not to give more significance to the issue and close the case. In fact, he was buried and his tombstone did not record his birth name, but the James Barry under which he always identified. And it seems that even the doctor who did the autopsy did one last nod to his colleague of profession to include, in the tab of death, that it’s not my business if James Barry is a man or a woman.”