Bladder stones, a 17th century musical

Lithotomy – and hence, the lithotomy position.

Commentary

French composer Martin Marais (1656-28) wrote this dramatic, narrated piece about the experience of this terrifying, high-risk, no-anaesthetic operation in the 17th century. The approach was trans-perineal.

Samuel Pepys had a bladder stone removed this way when he was 25 in 1658, repeatedly mentioned in his diaries, including in their very first lines written on Sunday 1 January 1660:

Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain, but upon taking of cold.

He celebrated his survival from this traumatic event annually.

Further info

Contributed by

Neil Turner

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