Funny Names in Medicine, Volume 1

Hello folks!

It’s good to be back! I’ve found it a bit hard to keep up with the flow of funny names lately, as I’ve been immersed in medicine. However, I’d like to take a brief moment to discuss some of the greatest names in medicine that I’ve learned so far.

Geneticist Reginald Punnett was dominant in the field of genetics, but his hairline clearly wasn't recessive.

Geneticist Reginald Punnett was dominant in the field of genetics, but his hairline clearly wasn’t recessive.

Sir Percival Potts – He was the first person to recognize certain carcinogens or mutagens. He noticed a significant increase in cancer rates in chimney-sweeps, and the link between cancer and various carcinogens was found.

Reginald Punnett – He was a British geneticist who co-founded the Journal of Genetics with William Bateson in 1910. His most notable contribution to the field is probably the eponymous Punnett Square, which first year bio students have been grappling with for decades now.

Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, who lived only 47 years (1818-1865), but accomplished a remarkable amount during that time. The Hungarian obstetrician was one of the first to advocate hand-washing to prevent the spread of disease.

Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus, railed against the ancient ideas of Hippocrates and Galen, who thought health was an imbalance of four humors – blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm. He was one of the first to pioneer the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. He wReneas also one of the first to describe the dangers of metalworking, and is sometimes credited as being the first toxicologist.

René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laenne

René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laenne

René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec – a French physician who invented the stethoscope in 1816. It had a trumpet-like end that amplified heart sounds, and transmitted them to the doctor’s ears via an air cavity in the stethoscope. He passed away at age 45 of tuberculosis, a disease that his colleagues diagnosed using a stethoscope.

Fun fact: prior to the stethoscope, doctors used to place their ear up directly to a patient’s chest. Lennec described this technique as “always inconvenient, both to the physician and the patient; in the case of females, it is not only indelicate, but often impractical.” What a gentleman!


About Dave

Based out of San Diego, California. Co-founder of the Blog of Funny Names.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Funny Names in Medicine, Volume 1

  1. marksackler says:

    Bombastus sounds like a great name for a politician. All politicians, actually.

  2. When I saw Percival Potts all I could think of was Pepper Potts! I must have superheros on the brain. lol

    • Dave says:

      I’m a little embarrassed that I had to look up Pepper Potts, but know exactly who Percival Potts is. Skewed priorities over here!

  3. ksbeth says:

    had i known him, i would have referred to phil as ‘pat-bvh’ and i love that hyacinth invented an instrument with a trumpet-shaped ending, similar to the shape of a bloom on a hyacinth perhaps?

  4. kerbey says:

    While Dolly Parton has Laennec to thank for the stethoscope, I have Semmelweis to thank for my OB always washing his hands, thank God. Gives me shivers to think of being the patient with the 5pm appt and no handwashing all day long. Yeesh. And since we’ve discussed old names coming back into style, young breedable couples should start considering Percy as a male name. People will think of the poet Percy Shelley or the singer Percy Sledge. And when you get mad, you could yell, “Percival! Get your bum in here right this second!” Of course, he might get beat up a lot with a name so high-falootin’.

  5. Dave says:

    I love the name Percy Sledge! It’s a shock we haven’t covered him yet!

    As for people beating up a kid named Percy, I think that’s a case where the Kermit Can Kill Conjecture comes into play. Percy would be hardcore!

  6. Arto says:

    Ooh, a monday morning surprise post! Leafing through that book I knew there was plenty of material for medical themed amusement and sure enough – these are great!

  7. Liz says:

    wowza–you got some chatter going with the medical names, Dave. Who knew? And without a tag of Hot Girls no less 😉

    Philippus is my favorite, though René gets points for the accent marks and hyphens. Oh the tragedy of you, another medicine man, not having a funny name.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s