An intriguing collection of medical cases by barber surgeon Alexander Balthazaar.
Balthazaar practised in Leiden for several decades and the Heelkundige waarnemingen reflects this broad experience. He treats primarily challenging and complicated cases, including fractures, fistulas, amputations, inflammations, hernias, etc.
Balthazaar was very critical of his fellow practitioners and medical practice in general. Indeed, the second work, Eenige en wel de voornaamste gedrogten, is a 39-page diatribe against the poor state of medical practice as he saw it, pointing out the many blunders he encountered in his day-to-day practice.
Alexander Balthazaar didn't make it into the canon of medical history, yet his writings offer a revealing glimpse into 18th-century medical practice, when patients were left to the mercy of barber surgeons without anesthetics and antibiotics.
No copies sold at auction in the last 35 years.
A rare collection of 18th-century medical cases
Heelkundige waarnemingen, inzonderheid van zwaare en moeijelijke gevallen.
Leiden, Jacob Meerburg, J.J. Thyssen, 1779.
Eenige en wel de voornaamste gedrogten, de waardige genees en heelkunde [...] het bedriegelyke momaanzigt onttoogen.
Leiden, Karel Delfos, 1761.