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Medical Museum: Stone heart

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | May 01, 2014
From the May 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The picture and description appear courtesy of Dr. M. Donald Blaufox, M.D., Ph.D, from his website: www.mohma.org.

Each month we visit Dr. Blaufox’s Museum of Historical Medical Artifacts to take a look back at the medical equipment that cleared the way for what patients encounter in doctors’ offices and operating rooms of today. Some equipment may be recognizable, while other inventions featured here have since become obsolete or have had their usefulness discredited.

Category: Pre 19th Century Instruments Cardiology
Estimated Date: 1600
Name: Votive
Manufacturer: unknown

Description: Stone heart, 4” from the base to the apex, 2.75” at base. It is accurately shaped with aorta. Superior vena cava and inferior vena cava represented. X-ray reveals a hole from superior to inferior vena cava. There is a vessel impression below the aorta and a linear one below that. Almost like a cast but appears to be made of stone. Most likely represents a votive used as an offering seeking a cure. It could also be an anatomic model, but would be of an unusual material. Votive body parts were commonly used in antiquity and up to today seeking a cure for an ailment involving that part of the body.

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