The Strange Case of “Dr. Anonymous” : A Mystery in the Early History of Coronary Artery Disease
Passion, Discovery, and Serendipity in Book Collecting with Paul Kligfield, MD
Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Room 153, Rubenstein Library
Contact: Rachel Ingold (firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-684-8549)
William Heberden’s 18th century description of angina pectoris contained no speculation as to its cause, now known to be coronary artery disease. After publication of his paper, he received a letter from a man offering his body for autopsy to search for a pathologic basis for his symptoms. Indeed, death occurred within weeks of his correspondence and an autopsy was performed. The writer’s description of his own symptoms of angina and impending sudden death was so medically accurate that historians have identified him as an unknown physician, described as “Dr Anonymous.” Nearly half a century of interest in the history of cardiology, combined with passion and serendipity in medical book collecting, have uncovered the true identity of Heberden’s previously unknown correspondent. Come and share the discovery!
Dr. Paul Kligfield is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Our event coincides with an exhibit, “A Library of Cardiology: The Paul Kligfield Collection,” on display in the Josiah Charles Trent History of Medicine Room of the Rubenstein Library.
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