Portrait No. 29

Lam Qua, 1801-1860
Physical Description:
61 cm. x 47 cm.
Framed, oil on board
Woman with "Preternatural development of the left mamma."
Ninth Report of the Ophthalmic Hospital in Canton for the quarterly term ending in December 31st, 1838. Chinese Repository, vol. 7. 1838-1839, p. 103-104: No. 5583, June 14th, Diseased breast, Kwan Meiurh from Kaouming, 45 years old, a silk embroiderer, had a preternatural development of the left mamma, which commenced two years ago. Six months before she came to the hospital she called a Chinese physician who applied to it a succession of plasters. Soon after the integument ulcerated and the gland protruded, she was much emaciated and the breast, one third as large as her head, came down as low as the umbilicus, when she stood up and laid upon her arm in the recumbent posture, presenting a large raw surface exuding blood and the natural secretion of the gland as it was irritated by the clothes. At various points were seen the lacteal ducts greatly enlarged. (…) The disease was strictly local. The patient justly remarked “The sooner it was removed the better” (…) on the 20th of June the breast was removed. In the morning before the operation the patient being asked if she feared it replied in the negative that “now if I turn to the right hand or to the left, incline forward or backward, I am in pain but in cutting off my breast is but a single pang.” The composed and confiding manner in which she came to the operation could not escape the notice of the gentlemen who were present. Apparently no child ever lay in the arms of its parent with more confidence of safety than this woman lay upon the operation table under the knife of a foreigner. In two and a half minutes the breast was extirpated; no artery required a ligature. The patient just moved her lips as a small remaining portion of the gland was dissected out; but regained the natural expression of her countenance before she was carried from the table. No fever followed (…). The third day the patient was walking from room to room, happy in her deliverance from so gloomy a prospect, and such suffering as the disease and the maltreatment it had received, occasioned. She is most rapidly recovering.
Donated by Peter Parker to the Yale School of Medicine and transferred to the Historical Library.
Variant Titles:
Kwan Meiurh
Breast Cancer
Breast Neoplasms
Medicine, Chinese
Missions and Missionaries
Missions, Medical
Case No. 5583
Kwan Meiurh
Parker, Peter, 1804-1888
paintings (AAT)
Content Type:
Paintings & Drawings
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Access Restrictions:
Source Title:
Peter Parker Collection
Yale Collection:
Cushing/Whitney Medical Library
Digital Collection:
Lam Qua's Portraits of Peter Parker's Patients