Each week a Society member reported a case that he had observed, so speakers were usually experienced medical men. On 17 December 1796, however, the floor was given to one of Knighton's fellow students, Hall Overend, who dispassionately reported symptoms he had experienced after cutting his finger in the dissecting room ten weeks earlier.
The wound was so slight that Overend had ignored it, but within two days it was ulcerated, his whole arm was stiff and he had a swollen gland in his armpit. He healed the wound but the pain and swelling increased. A week later he consulted Astley Cooper, who was another of Knighton's lecturers and a former pupil of Cline. During the next two weeks Overend suffered throbbing pain, delerium and debility. The swelling hardened and filled his armpit, at one stage extending to his nipple. Cooper prescribed leeches to reduce the swelling, a succession of purgatives to flush out the infection, opium for the pain, and incisions in the swelling to remove pus. To discourage further swelling he placed Overend on an antiphlogistic regimen of simple diet and no alcohol.
At the time of speaking Overend had not yet fully recovered, but he survived to return to Sheffield where he had been apprenticed. There he established a successful practice as a surgeon apothecary, founded his own school of anatomy and medicine, and supported the creation of a second school which is now part of Sheffield University.
Wikimedia Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Astley_Paston_Cooper_2.jpg
- London, King's College Library, Minutes of the Physical Society of Guy's Hospital, 1 Mar 1794–6 May 1798, G/S4/M6
- H. T. Swan, ‘Overend, Hall (1772–1831)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/68312, accessed 27 June 2013]