Charles Lowell's Hip: An Early Case of (alleged) Medical Malpractice

Charles Lowell infamously suffered a well-publicized and controversial hip dislocation. A young man at the time of the incident in 1821, he charged his physicians with malpractice and negligence, arguably helping to start a wave of medical lawsuits. The case was filled with speculation and accusation, but never arrived at a satisfactory conclusion. Years after the court was adjourned, however, Lowell stood to testify as the final witness when, upon his death, his pelvis was prepared and donated. Never pleased with the judicial resolution to drop the case, he advocated for a post-mortem examination in the hopes that the bone could expose all unanswered questions, and prove once and for all that he had been wronged.


Exhibition was curated by Emily Heeren with assistance from Dominic Hall and Susan Lester, M.D., Ph.D. Physical and digital exhibit supported by funds from the "Manual of Surgical Pathology"