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Historical Trivia: Hemorrhoids

Napoleon Bonaparte fought (and lost) his last battle at Waterloo, Belgium (1815). In the days leading up to and during the battle he was in agonizing pain from thrombosed hemorrhoids which prevented him from, among other things, mounting his horse to survey the battlefield prior to the first shot being fired and during the battle to order changes in troop movement.

His doctors usually used leeches (yes, directly on his hemorrhoids) to reduce the engorgement and pain, but none could be found on that fateful day so he was given morphine which caused him to slip into a stupor and he was unable to make the correct decisions that would have won a battle he was expected to.

He was taken prisoner and transported to St. Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic where he died, probably from stomach cancer.

A famous palindrome related to a previous Napoleon imprisonment on the Isle of Elba, off the West coast of Italy went like this-

"Able was I ere I saw Elba"

(reads the same backwards and forwards)

Author
Marcus M. Aquino, MD Marcus M. Aquino, MD Surgeon

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