In 1929, W. Forssmann performed the first human heart cath on himself. He tricked the OR nurse, put himself under local anesthesia, inserted a catheter into his arm, then walked to the X-ray room to see if it reached his heart. He was fired from the hospital, but awarded the Nobel Prize in 1956.
Dr Barry Marshall was convinced that H.pylori bacteria causes stomach ulcers, but no one believed him. Since it was illegal to test his theory on humans, he drank the bacteria himself, developed ulcers within days, treated them with antibiotics and went to win a Nobel prize.
James McCune Smith, the first African-American doctor, was rejected from all American colleges and had to attend the University of Glasgow in Scotland, where he graduated at the top of his class.
In the 1900s doctors warned women that riding a bicycle may cause them to acquire “bicycle face”.
In 1901, a doctor was told mid-surgery that he was needed urgently elsewhere, to which he responded that he could not leave “even for the President of the United States”. He was then told he needed to operate on William McKinley, the President of the United States. The doctor maintained his claim and actually didn’t leave.
The youngest doctor in the history of the USA graduated medical school at age 17.
50 years before women were allowed to enroll into medical school, Margaret Ann Bulkley dressed as a man for 56 years to study medicine and become her alter-ego, Dr James Barry. It was only when she died in 1865 that her secret was exposed after 46 years working as an army medical officer.
During WW2, an Italian doctor prevented Nazis from taking Jewish patients by claiming they suffered the fictitious ‘K Syndrome’. He saved 45 lives.
In 1984, a 1-year-old received a heart transplant from a baboon but ended up dying 21 days later due to rejection. When questioned with why a baboon and not a primate more closely related to humans, the surgeon said he didn’t believe in evolution.