The year was 2010. I had just completed 9 years of university education which culminated in a PhD from the University of Oxford in the History of Science, Medicine & Technology; and I was about to start a 3-year postdoctoral research fellowship with the Wellcome Trust. I was on top of the world, academically-speaking.
Yet, for me, there was something missing.
It may not come as a surprise to you that I was a strange child, and the signs were there from the beginning that I would become an even stranger adult. I used to make my grandmother take me around to old cemeteries in Chicago when I was younger. I suppose you could say I have always been fascinated with death. But more so, I have always been fascinated with the past.
I’ve also always been a passionate storyteller. I suppose that’s what first attracted me to history as a subject. I’m so often moved by the stories I come across in my research—stories about the people who died, about the loved ones they left behind, and about the surgeons who opened up their dead bodies for the sake of medical science.
But back to 2010. I was feeling uninspired, and not a little burnt-out. I was tired of philosophizing and theorizing about the past. I wanted to fall in love with history again, and get back to the stories that once stirred my imagination. Thus, The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice was born.
I’m not going to lie. Not everyone agrees with what I’m doing. Some people think I am ‘bastardizing’ the discipline, and wasting my credentials. Others think I’m being purposefully sensational. And while there is no doubt that I hit upon sensitive subjects here, I hope that people come away with a real understanding of our medical past when they leave. I like to say: ‘Come for the skin book, stay for the history!’
Today, I am no longer part of academia. I have no institutional affiliation, and no funding. But I love what I do. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful to you, my readers, for your continued support and enthusiasm for the subject. Since its launch in 2010, The Chirugeon’s Apprentice has had nearly a million hits, and now has 45,000 fans from around the world. I am truly humbled.
Over the years, many of you have asked how you can support my work. I’ve always prided myself on providing free content for those who seek it. I believe the past doesn’t just belong to historians and scholars. It belongs to everyone. That said, I’ve recently launched a ‘Donate Page’ should you want to help defray the costs of running this website, or merely show your support for a freelance writer. You can also find a donate button below.
I absolutely do not expect it, but I do appreciate your generosity.
Thank you, Dr Lindsey (AKA The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice)