Post-mortem set, United Kingdom, 1860-1865
Made from steel with ivory handles, the set contains knives for cartilage, bones and the brain, forceps, saws, scalpels and a spine wrench – all used for post-mortems. The instruments are all still remarkably sharp. Post-mortems only came into practice in the early 1800s. They were used to determine whether the physician’s diagnosis when the patient was alive had been correct. They also helped physicians to learn more about the internal symptoms and signs of disease. Most of these instruments were made by S Maw & Son, a surgical instrument maker based in London; the rest were made by other instrument makers based in the United Kingdom.
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Glossary: post mortem set
Glossary: post mortem
A medical procedure that consists of an examination to discover the cause and manner of a death.