The International Museum of Surgical Science, a division of the International College of Surgeons (ICS), maintains over 10,000 square feet of public galleries committed to the history of surgery, and an exquisite permanent collection of art and artifacts from the history of medicine.
This gallery depicts important events in Spanish medical history from the 5th century all the way through the early 20th century. These accomplishments include a successful c-section, an operation on the urethra, treatment of a hernia, advanced wound healing, the invention of several trephination tools, the spread of the smallpox vaccine in the New World, and the founding of the Royal Colleges of Surgery of Cadiz. Take a look around the walls at all of the incredible discoveries made in Spain. On the western wall, there is an image of a man being burned at the stake. That man’s name was Michael Servetus (Miguel Servet, in Spanish), and he openly challenged the teachings of the anatomists Galen and Hippocrates that had been widely accepted for the previous 14 centuries. Even though Servetus’ theories were largely medically accurate--he is particularly known for his description of pulmonary circulation--his boldness in challenging accepted medical knowledge was deemed punishable by death. He was executed in Calvinist Geneva in 1553. Here is another painting of his execution, located in the Hall of Murals. Take a look for yourself on the second floor on your way out.