HistoryofScience.com Blog

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Malfeasance from a "Garrison-Morton" Author!

  • In order to bring the "Garrison-Morton" medical bibliography up to date for the new online, revised and interactive version at www.historyofmedicine.com one of the processes I have had to follow is checking the names and birth and death dates of the thousands of authors in the bibliography. This is a task that I never attempted 25 years when I put out the 5th edition in book form. At that time the process was impossibly time consuming, so I added in what I found in the process of revising the text, but I did not make an effort to revise all author names and author dates in a systematic way. As a result of the Internet it is, of course, now possible to find birth and death dates for many authors relatively quickly, though some continue to elude me.

  • When I checked the dates for Cecil Bryan Jacobson, junior author of the paper describing the first use of amniocentesis to diagnose genetic disorders, I was surprised to find that Dr. Jacobson was recently involved in a notorious scandal, and had his license to practice medicine revoked. I included the relevant paragraph from the Wikipedia article on Jacobson in the note to entry 6235.2, a copy of which is below. For more information see the full Wikipedia article and the many news articles on this scandal.

  • 6235.2. 
  • BARTER, Robert Henry. 1913 – 1999
  • JACOBSON, Cecil Bryan. 1936 –

Intrauterine diagnosis and management of genetic defects.

 Amer. J. Obstet. Gynec., 99, 796-807. 1967.
Amniocentesis used to diagnose genetic disorders in utero. First detailed report. See also Fuchs, F., Genetic information from amniotic fluid contents. Lancet, 1960, 2, 180.

"During the course of the criminal investigation, another type of fraud came to light. For a variety of reasons, some patients had arranged to be artificially inseminated with sperm provided by screened, anonymous donors arranged by [Cecil Bryan] Jacobson. In order to preserve the anonymity of the donors, Jacobson explained, he identified them in records using code numbers; only Jacobson was to know their true identities. Investigators found no evidence that any donor program actually existed. Some of Jacobson's patients who had conceived through donor insemination agreed to genetic testing. At least seven instances were identified in which Jacobson was the biological father of the patients' children, including one patient who was supposed to have been inseminated with sperm provided by her husband. DNA tests linked Jacobson to at least 15 such children, and it has been suspected that he fathered as many as 75 children by impregnating patients with his own sperm" (Wikipedia article on Cecil Jacobson, accessed 05-22-2015).

posted by Jeremy Norman @ 8:10 AM   8 Comments

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

HistoryofMedicine.com, the Electronic Version of "Garrison-Morton" is Launched!

We launched HistoryofMedicine.com, the online interactive version of my 1991 printed edition of "Garrison-Morton", at the meeting of Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences (ALHHS.org) held in New Haven, Connecticut on April 29-30, 2015. Having a deadline for a functioning version of the site was a helpful, and perhaps a necessary incentive for making a presentable version available by a specific date.  Having this reference work online and freely available is something that I have wanted to do for about twenty years! It became possible when the copyright reverted to me in 2014.

The new site has many interactive features that make it far easier to use than the printed version, plus it is usable on your favorite electronic devices, including your cell phone!

I greatly appreciate the ability to revise and improve the work as time permits, as it is no longer a fixed printed work. Since launching the site I have made perhaps 1000 corrections, many of which involved filling in birth and death dates for authors, but I also corrected a lot of mistakes, some of which were caused by scanning errors, some of which were just errors in the printed text. You can find significant new additions simply by clicking on "Additions or Significant Revisions to the Website", which happens to be the first topic under the letter A in the subject index.

posted by Jeremy Norman @ 2:52 PM   3 Comments

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