The Knick is about a lot of sexy things: there’s cocaine addiction, back-alley cadaver deals, and actual sex. But it’s also full of real-world historical science. The discoveries, the inventions, even the cocaine addiction, are real—a fact that can be both fascinating and horrifying.
Take, for example, “Thackery’s point”—the location Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) finds that allows him to safely perform an appendectomy. It wasn’t discovered by the show’s fictitious main character, but it was located by Charles McBurney in roughly the same time period as the show. (It’s still known as “McBurney’s point.”) That crazy nose reconstruction (above) Thackery does for a woman who loses part of her snout to syphilis? That was also a common treatment at the time, having been invented in Italy during the Renaissance and used for years thereafter. The early 1900s, as The Knick shows, was also when X-rays were coming into common usage. (However, people didn’t entirely understand that long-term exposure to radiation could kill you.)”
- Doctors Really Used Those Amazing Devices and Treatments on The Knick
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