Scottish Daily Mail



HOW pioneering scientists tested their theories on themselves . . .

THE CHALLENGE: Every year up to 7,000 people have bladder stones removed in hospital. These form when urine collects in the bladder and minerals such as calcium and magnesium crystallis­e into lumps.

THE EXPERIMENT: Traditiona­lly, bladder stones were removed by hand. Patients would lie down, with their knees in the air. The doctor inserted his finger into the patient’s rectum to feel for the bladder, before inserting small forceps, piercing the bladder and pulling out the stone. Those who did not die of infection were often left impotent or incontinen­t.

Rather than put himself through the ordeal, in 1824 French surgeon Charles-Auguste Clever de Maldigny operated on himself to remove the stones. With a mirror between his legs, he cut a small incision above his pelvic bone where he felt the pain, cut into his bladder and removed a walnutsize­d stone before stitching himself up and dropping off to sleep.

WAS IT WORTH IT? Before the invention of ultrasound to smash bladder stones 30 years ago, Clever De Maldigny’s widely r eported operation paved the way for bladder surgery to replace the older, much riskier method.

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