CEPI Curiosities: Chevalier Jackson Chewed Up and Spit Out

CEPI Curiosities: Tales from Medical History's Strange Side

Welcome again, fellow historico-medico philes for the latest installment of CEPI Curiosities. This time around, we round out our series of guest-authored pieces with Karabots Junior Fellows intern Paul Robbins’ third and final post. If you haven’t seen his previous two articles on Chang and Eng and FOP (fibrodisplasia ossificans progressiva), I recommend you go and do that. In the meantime, here’s Paul’s take on Chevalier Jackson and his collection of swallowed objects.

Chevalier Jackson was born on November 4, 1865, in Pittsburgh, PA. He was a Philadelphia otolaryngologist and a Fellow of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Chevalier Jackson created a method to remove swallowed objects from the human lungs. He is most known for his collection of swallowed objects gathered over a career that continued for almost 75 years. Dr. Jackson’s collection includes 2,374 swallowed objects.


Dr. Chevalier Jackson

It was said that Chevalier Jackson had a cold, cruel, and lonely childhood. He had his own laboratory at the age of four where worked with wood and sharp tools. As a child he had no intimate friends and few companions; unlike other boys his age Chevalier did not find interest in physical activities such as football, baseball, or dancing. Jackson was bullied as a child; he was bullied so much that at one point he was thrown into a trench and was found unconscious by a dog.

X-Ray of patient who swallowed safety pin

Chevalier Jackson went to Thomas Jefferson University and received a MD. He also went to England to study laryngology which is the branch of medicine that deals with the larynx and its diseases. After his college years, he went on and became a otolaryngologist. A otolaryngology is the study of diseases of the ear and throat. Dr Jackson’s specialty was the removal of objects from people’s throats. His most frightening procedure was when he had to extract three open safety pins from a nine-month-old baby.


He kept and took careful records of each swallowed object as an example for other otolaryngologists while performing bronchoscopy. Bronchoscopy is a procedure in which a hollow tube called a bronchoscope is injected into your airways to provide a view of the tracheobronchial tree. More than 80% of his patients were under the age of 15. Dr Jackson’s collection of over 2,000 swallowed objects consists mostly of safety pins, toys, coins, medals, and buttons.

Dr. Jackson practiced his techniques for extracting swallowed objects on a doll named Michelle. Michelle had a child sized esophagus which made it extremely easier for him to practice his techniques on her. Once, Jackson even demonstrated an emergency tracheotomy on Michelle; the scar on her mouth is still shown. Michelle helped Chevalier Jackson gain confidence to operate and try his new ideas on real children. Because of Michelle, Jackson was able to save the lives of over 98% of the children he treated.


If you’d like to learn more about Chevalier Jackson, his whole collection is located in carefully-arranged drawers in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.


How CEPI Youth Spent their Summer Vacation, Part 2: The Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program

The 2016 cohort of the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship program pose with Teva employees and hold certificates of completion for completing their summer internship

As the summer winds down to a close, it’s back to school season here in Philadelphia as students make their way back into the classrooms. For the students in CEPI’s youth programs, summer was a busy time full of networking, career building, and learning outside the classroom. Yesterday, we focused on the Karabots Junior Fellows Program. Today we feature the highlights of the students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program.

In July CEPI welcomed the newest cohort of Teva interns with an intensive four-day-a-week, four-week summer program. During the entire month, they took part in activities related to issues connected to violence, forensics, and healthcare. CEPI also welcomed Matilda David and Miriam Iken, two students participating in the University of Pennsylvania’s Bridging the Gaps Program, who helped us carry out our programming.

During Week 1, we introduced our new Teva interns to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia as well as each other. Highlights from their first week included tours of the Mütter Museum and the Historical Medical Library; meeting with a Teva alum who shared her experiences in the program; and a series of games, team-building exercises, and CEPI’s home-grown room escape activity: “Dr. Mütter’s Secret Specimen.”

Week 2 brought a focus at the historical, social, and cultural factors that lead to violence. Michael Nairn, a professor of Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania led the interns through a history of race relations in Philadelphia and the evolution of the city’s neighborhoods. Barb Fox discussed the upcoming June 5th Memorial (memorializing the victims of a fatal building collapse at 22nd and Market on June 5, 2013). Jon Goff, who currently serves as the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Advancement Information Manager, shared his experience serving in the Peace Corps. Other topics and activities included a discussion of intimate partner violence and a trip to the Karabots Pediatric Care Center of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to meet with a panel of medical professionals.

During Week 3, the focus shifted toward forensic science. The fellows met with forensic experts and took place in a series of hands-on activities to strengthen their deductive and investigative powers. Crime scene expert Gladys “GG” Siebert walked them through a real-life (simulated) crime scene in the Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden; they took part in blood spatter analysis with Drexel Biology professor Susan Gurney.  Forensic expert Kimberlee Moran taught them how to take and examine fingerprints, and Mütter Museum Director (and formerly an F.B.I.-trained police investigator) Robert Hicks addressed the challenges of analyzing eyewitness testimony. Dr. Hicks literally threw himself into the role and was the victim of a simulated attack (similar to one he did with the Karabots Junior Fellows this past spring) and had the students attempt to recreate the event and identify the assailant. They also traveled to Drexel University’s Center City Physical Therapy Lab to learn about the physical impact of violence and how injury victims recover. They also studied topics related to family therapy and violence prevention.

Students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship program practice taking vitals on a medical dummy at the Drexel University Physical Therapy Labs

The fourth and final week focused on coping and community action, and the interns explored ways to face violence in their communities. They met with Tieshka Smith, creator of #RacismisaSickness, a multi-medium exhibit addressing the impact of police violence. They journeyed to Eastern State Penitentiary to discuss the impact of prisons in America (and see the site’s new exhibit on the subject: Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration) They also expanded their cultural horizons as they met with Teva alums Binta and Adunia who shared their experiences living and growing up in Africa. Finally, they made preparations for their future by meeting with STEM-related professionals from internship benefactor Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. They also helped develop a toolkit for coping with and combating violence in their communities (the toolkit is scheduled to debut as part of the second annual Pennsylvania Teen Health Week, January 9-13, 2017).

We have a wide array of activities lined up for both of our youth programs, so be sure to check back here to see what the upcoming school year has in store for the healthcare professionals and community leaders of the future!

How CEPI Youth Spent Their Summer Vacation, Part I: The Karabots Junior Fellows

The Karabots Junior Fellows pose in front of the statue of Benjamin Franklin at the Franklin Institute

As the summer winds down to a close, it’s back to school season here in Philadelphia as students make their way back into the classrooms. For the students in CEPI’s youth programs, summer was a busy time full of networking, career building, and learning outside the classroom. Today’s article is the first of a two-part series spotlighting the achievements of two of our youth programs. Our first focus is on the Karabots Junior Fellows Program.

Our current cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program was extremely busy during the summer. Many spent part of their summer taking part in internships where they assisted various departments of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Regular readers have seen the fruits of some of their efforts in the form of articles for CEPI Curiosities on the difference between venom and poisons, the lives of Chang and Eng Bunker, and the story of Harry Eastlack and his battle with FOP (fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva). Other internships included developing educational and public programs, creating social media content, cataloging specimens in the Mütter Museum collection, designing materials for library researchers, inventorying stock in the Museum Store, transcribing videos on the Mütter Museum’s YouTube channel to make them accessible to more viewers, and strengthening donor relations. On August 2, the College of Physicians hosted a version of Murder at the Mütter, our annual forensic-science themed murder mystery event, for students in the Franklin Institute’s STEM Scholars Program. The event was developed, promoted, and implemented by several of our Karabots Interns.

Evidence from the Karabots Interns' Murder at the Mütter event, including a cell phone, fingerprint and footprint samples, and a bloody shirt

Evidence from the Karabots Interns’ Murder at the Mütter event

During the middle of August, the Fellows reconvened as a group to share their summer experiences together and take part in a two-week series of healthcare and medical-themed activities. This year’s theme was “Many Bodies, One Health.” Based in part on the One Health Initiative, a program designed to encourage coordination between public health officials, environmental experts, and human and veterinary healthcare professionals to prepare for possible future zoonotic disease outbreaks, our programming focused on bodily systems and emphasized the similarities, differences, and overall interconnectedness of humans and animals. Over their two weeks they studied the structure and function of parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, eyes and ears, through examining models and performing dissections. Among other activities they also learned how to lead healthier lives with lessons on aerobic exercise, yoga, self-hypnosis, and nutrition (the latter they learned from nutrition student and KJF alum Sarah Lumbo). The Fellows met with healthcare professionals at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Karabots Pediatric Care Center and the Physical Therapy Department at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and hosted experts from the Penn SUMR Scholars Program; they also met with animal guests, including a therapy dog, several pet snakes, and a talkative bird.

Three Karabots Junior Fellows dissect a sheep's brain

As a way of tracking their progress, we periodically had them write down something that had learned which they then added to our “Bodies of Knowledge,” images of human and animal bodies from medical works posted on our bulletin board. Over the course of the two weeks, they managed to fill these bodies with facts related to anatomy, physiology, and personal health. They left the session with newfound knowledge to better prepare them for their futures in medicine.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows program stick notes containing facts they learned during their two week summer session on a bulletin board containing anatomical images of a human and horse, adding to their "bodies of knowledge"

Be sure to check back in tomorrow as we examine what our Teva Pharmaceuticals Interns were up to this summer.

Pizza and Public Health: The Karabots Fellows Meet the SUMR Scholars

Students from the Karabots Junior Fellows and SUMR Scholars programs pose on the marble staircase at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

A few weeks ago our fourth cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program met for a two-week series of lessons and activities (an article going into more detail about their endeavors is forthcoming). In what has become a welcome tradition, our students got the chance to meet with students from Penn’s SUMR internship program. Short for Summer Undergraduate Minority Research program, the internship program run by the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) offers paid internships to undergraduates interested in pursuing health sciences research projects. SUMR pays especial focus to underrepresented minority groups.

On August 18, the SUMR scholars came to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia to meet with the Karabots Fellows. After some introductions they toured the Mütter Museum, where the Fellows gave mini-tours of objects in the Museum they had selected to research and develop presentations.

Afterwards, the SUMR scholars and Karabots Fellows convened in the Ashhurst conference room to have pizza and discuss careers in healthcare. For more on the visit from the SUMR scholars’ perspective be sure to check out Hoag Levins and Megan Pellegrino’s recent blog post on their visit.

The Karabots Junior Fellows and Penn's SUMR Scholars network around a table at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia



Exquisite Corpses Etching Workshop: Drypoint Edition

A few weekends ago, a number of students crowded around a display of books in our historical medical library as Historical Medical Librarian Beth Lander spoke. The books ranged from the Renaissance to the 1850’s, and were all filled with astoundingly beautiful medical illustrations. Beth went from book to book, elucidating the various manuscripts and placing them in context of their history and importance to medicine. The students were there to cut them apart. Well, not the actual books, but photocopies of the illustrations in them. This was all part of a class in tandem with Second State Press called Exquisite Corpses Etching Workshop: Drypoint.

After we had spent an hour poring over the minute details of the illustrations in these antique books, students ventured into the classroom, where a spread of the photocopies lay across two 6 foot tables. Students chose a handful of images and went to work cutting them apart and gluing them onto paper, reassembling, abstracting, and creating inspired collages.


Printmaker Lauren Pakradooni from Second State then passed out sheets of plexiglass. Students placed the plexi plates on top of their collages and traced them, digging and etching into the plates with a sharp pointed tool called a scribe. Lauren described the techniques one could use to create marks and make tonal value, including cross-hatching, stippling, and scratching with sandpaper.

On Sunday, students came to Second State Press where they inked their incomplete plates and did test prints to see how their initial etchings were coming out. After reviewing how the various techniques looked once printed, students worked back into their plates, completing their etchings and running them through the press, with terrific results!

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Be sure to check our Events page for upcoming arts events – we are holding another session of our 8-week specimen drawing course, Drawing Anatomical Anomalies in September and October, as well as an interactive performance of Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, followed by cocktails and a conversation about tuberculosis in Poe’s life and works on October 4th.

CEPI Curiosities: FOP and Harry Eastlack

CEPI Curiosities: Tales from Medical History's Strange Side

Hello, fellow histori-medico-philes, Kevin here for another installment of CEPI Curiosities. This time around, we have another by Paul, our diligent Karabots Junior Fellows intern. You may recall in our last issue, Paul wrote about the famous “Siamese Twins,” Chang and Eng Bunker. Let’s see what he has in store for us this time.

Take it away Paul!

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) is a disorder where muscle tissue and connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments are replaced by bone (ossified), forming bone outside the skeleton (extra-skeleton) that constrains movement. The process of FOP is usually noticed in early childhood, with unusually big toes and and short thumbs. FOP usually starts from the neck on down and is a slow and painful disease.


Eastlack at age of 13

The extra skeleton formed by FOP causes a loss of mobility in the limbs as they become affected. FOP may cause problems eating and speaking due to the extra skeleton immobilizing the jaw bone. Over time, people with this disorder may suffer from malnutrition (lack of proper nutrition) due to the eating problem. This disorder also causes difficulty breathing with another rib cage forming around the rib cage, compacting the heart and lungs. It is very common for someone with FOP to become paralyzed.


Eastlack ribcage

Approximately 1 in 2 million people is diagnosed with FOP. Only 800 cases have been confirmed around the globe and 285 in the United States. FOP is often mistaken for cancer. Unlike most diseases, surgery only makes the condition worse.

One notable person with FOP was Harry Eastlack who was born in November 1933 in Philadelphia, PA. At age 5, he broke his left leg while playing with his sister. There were complications with the fracture, which did not set properly. A couple years later, his hip and knee stiffened and bone growths began to develop on the muscles of his thigh. The condition spread to other parts of his body, ossifying his tendons and muscle and fusing his joints. When Harry turned 20 he became paralyzed and his body had completely fused together from his vertebrae. Harry died in November 1973,


Skeleton of Harry Eastlake

FOP is one of the rarest, most disabling genetic conditions known to medicine. No  medical therapy is known for FOP. The University of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania are currently the two main FOP research institutes; however, others around the world are also looking for a cure. It is said that gene therapy such as  bisphosphonates and corticosteroids are the hope for FOP.

For more information on Harry Eastlack and his disease visit his site in the Mütter Museum located on 19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.






African Girls in America

This blog entry is by two of our interns who worked with us as part of the WorkReady Program run by the Philadelphia Youth Network.

My name is Adunia. I am from Eritrea and I came to the United States in 2009 at the age of 11. I am a rising senior at Paul Robeson High School of Human Services. I love to interact with people but most people think I’m quiet. Back home I was always out playing games no matter how hot it is. Here, I stay inside more and listen to my music. My life in Eritrea was much more social. When I came to U.S everything was different: the people, the culture, the language. People in the USA are more diverse and more open, which means you can talk more freely. This country is more liberal, you can be gay, wear anything you want and do what you like and there is freedom of speech. I love helping others and hearing people’s thoughts. What I love the most about home is our culture. In our culture community is really important and that’s why I like it. The President of Eritrea is Isaias Afwerki; he is the reason my family fled to Shimelba, a refugee camp in Ethiopia. We were rescued by the United Nations, who brought my family to Philadelphia.

Binta and Adunia, two students from the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program, pose in front of the main label for the Penn Museum's "Imagine Africa" exhibit

Binta and Adunia at the Penn Museum’s Imagine Africa exhibit.

My name is Binta. I’m also a Paul Robeson High School student. I moved to Philadelphia from Guinea in June 2013 and started school the same year. I was excited and nervous at the same time. And then an unimaginable thing happened; I was inappropriately touched at school by a boy in the lunchroom at Bartram High School. He was only suspended for a week. I was able to change to a different high school that was much better for me and made a lot of great friends who have a similar background to me. After the incident my opinion about living in America changed and I felt less positive about the move. I still miss my life in Guinea a lot and I would love to go home and visit. However, I like the diversity in this country and the sense of freedom. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I have been given.

We both been working this summer as Work Ready interns at the Mütter Museum. We are planning an after-school club for students that come from different countries like us. Our mission is to make every student feel at safe and at home, create positive relationships, and help them succeed at school and in life.