Suffering and Death among Early American Roentgenologists: The Power of Remotely Anatomizing the Living Body in Fin de Siècle America

This manuscript has two aims. First, I extend the historiography on early American roentgenology that demonstrates that dozens of early adopters knowingly suffered intense pain, mutilation, and death for the sake of the X-ray. The objective is to pinpoint as precisely as possible when and to what extent the roentgenologists knew of the life-threatening risks of X-ray exposure. Second, I articulate a partial explanation for their behavior that is rooted in the social power of remotely anatomizing the living body in fin de siècle American scientific and medical culture.