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J Med Biogr. 2009 Feb;17(1):35-8. doi: 10.1258/jmb.2007.007041.

Intensive care 1650: the revival of Anne Greene (c. 1628-59).

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UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Ireland.


On a cold December day in 1650, 22-year-old Anne Greene was hanged in Oxford. When taken down after half an hour, she was found to show signs of life and over the next few days William Petty (1623-87), Thomas Willis (1621-75), Ralph Bathurst (1620-74) and Henry Clerke (1622-87) ministered to her full recovery. She was later pardoned of the charge of infanticide and, with the coffin wherein she had lain as a trophy, went into the country, became the subject not only of a prose and poetic narrative but also of a woodcut. Anne married happily, bore three children and lived until 1659. A combination of low-body temperature and external (pedal) cardiac massage after her failed execution, it is suggested, helped to keep her alive until the arrival of the physicians who had come to make an anatomical dissection but serendipitously won golden opinions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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