Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 -1951)
Philosopher and porter
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein worked as a porter at Guy’s Hospital from 1941. He later became a laboratory assistant to Ronald Grant and Basil Reeve, who were studying trauma shock.
It was Wittgenstein who suggested to Grant that wound sizes might be described in terms of the volume of tissue damaged, using the hand or fist as a unit of measurement. This made a significant contribution to Grant’s work on measuring wounds and blood-loss.
Grant wrote of Wittgenstein: ‘He has a keenly critical mind and in discussions of medical and physiological problems has proved a most helpful and stimulating colleague. He has undertaken observations on respiratory variations of blood pressure in man, devising his own experiments and apparatus. The results of his work so far are at variance with commonly accepted views and of considerable interest.’