February 3 1896 Eddie McCarthy getting his wrist X-Rayed in Dartmouth College's Reed Hall

The First Medical Use of the X-Ray


Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Michael Hinsley

Today in Hanover and Dartmouth College History February 3, 1896

On February 3, 1896 young Eddie McCarthy reported to Dartmouth College's Reed Hall to meet with his Doctor, Gilman Frost MD. Young Eddie sat down and presented his wrist for the first examination utilizing X-Rays.  Eddie McCarthy had been skating on the Connecticut River, fell and injured his left wrist.

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Eddie's doctor at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital was Dr. Gilman Frost, who was also a professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. Eddie was fortunate that Dr. Frost's brother, Edwin B. Frost was a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College.

The Frost brothers upon hearing of Professor Roentgen's discovery of the mysterious X-ray started working to utilize Professor Roentgen's finding a way to utilize the X-ray in a practical way to better diagnose and care for their patients.

Professor Edwin Frost's X-ray machine in Dartmouth College's Reed Hall

Dartmouth Professor Edwin Frost apears to watching his clock timing the X-ray, Eddie McCarthy seated, Dr. Gilman D Frost standing, Mrs Gilman D. Frost seated. Mrs. Frost was the Head Nurse at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital.

The event of the first use of a X-ray for medical use was recorded by Howard H. Langill a photographer who captured many of the images that I share. This image captured by Mr. Langill has the distinction of being the first use of a photograph to record a medical experiment.

Dr. Peter Spiegel, The Chair Emeritus of the Department of Radiology at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. A long time Hanover resident, outdoorsmen, craftsmen, and individual who has X-rayed me, my siblings and friends many time after suffering from the power of gravity and other laws of physics that failed us, wrote an article for the American Journal of Roentology that is far more complete then I am capable of. Here is the link http://www.ajronline.org/doi/pdf/10.2214/ajr.164.1.7998549

Photo credits Dartmouth College Rauner Library the coolest place on campus.

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