A surgical mishapBMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7221.1360 (Published 20 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1360
- D N Baron, retired chemical pathologist
The German emperor Frederick III, though mortally ill, reigned briefly in 1888. He was popular (“Unser Fritz”), a liberal opposed to Chancellor Bismarck's “blood and iron” policies, and pro-British, being married to Queen Victoria's daughter Vicki. In 1887, while still crown prince, he developed symptoms of laryngeal disease. The German surgeons wanted to perform laryngectomy as they thought that cancer was certain, despite Rudolf Virchow—whose reputation remained high—not reporting pathological malignancy on the small specimen sent.
Victoria, however, sent across Morell Mackenzie, a leading …