The Medical Lives of History`s Famous People

Pottʼs Disease: The Childhood Disease of Timothy Cratchit

Author(s): William James Maloney

Pp: 52-57 (6)

DOI: 10.2174/9781608059362114010011

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Charles Dickens is known throughout the world as perhaps the greatest novelist of all time. Dickens was highly interested in many social causes during his lifetime. One such cause was access to quality medical care for children. 20th century renovations at a London church revealed a tomb containing the body of an individual who served as the inspiration for his most beloved character, Timothy Cratchit or, more famously, ʻTiny Tim.’

Cratchitʼs skeletal remains were not that of a young boy but, rather, that of an adult. By virtue of this information, Dickensʼ ʻA Christmas Carolʼ must be viewed as a social commentary. The hidden message of ʻA Christmas Carolʼ is that children have the ability to overcome devastating physical ailments and handicaps if the proper medical care is provided.

Keywords: A Christmas Carol, Cratchit, grave, lumbar vertebrae, Pottʼs Disease, Royal Historic Society, Scrooge, Sir Percivall Pott, spine, thoracic vertebrae, tuberculosis.

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