But who is Joe Abernathy?

By  Francoise Rochet, Gratianne Garcia  

and  Claudine Leroy 

JOE ABERNATHY is Claire's surgeon friend in Boston, he is a flamboyant and very endearing character. At the same time as Claire, he arrives at university in a racist and misogynist society of the 1950s. Both are rejected, he as the only student of color and she the only woman. A strong lasting friendship develops between the two of them.
I discovered a strong man, down to earth, discreet, protective and above all with a sense of humor. He helps and supports Claire morally, she will even confide in him what she has most precious to her daughter.

But it is Joe Abernathy who calls out to me: he bears the same name as the deceased husband of Geillis in Jamaica. From what he tells Claire, Joe Abernathy does not know his origins since he is a descendant of a slave. We know that very often the slaves bore the name of their master, so there, I wonder if the ancestor of Doctor J. Abernathy was not a slave on the plantation of Mr. and Mrs. Abernathy. It seems to me that the author Diana Gabaldon gives us little indications when we learn that Joe's son wants to change his name, to be more in tune with his real slave roots, he claims his African heritage.
Is the name a coincidence? I'm sure not, indeed every character or event is carefully studied and documented.

John Abernethy was born in London on April 3, 1764, where his father was a merchant. A brilliant student, he took courses with prestigious London doctors and surgeons, including Percivall Pott's surgical courses at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Sir Charles Blicke, who was assistant surgeon, succeeded him and Abernethy was elected assistant surgeon in 1787. In this capacity, he began to give courses which were so successful that the directors of the hospital built an amphitheater (1790– 1791), and Abernethy thus became a linchpin of St Bartholomew's medical school which still promotes the advancement of all aspects of

He held the post of assistant surgeon for twenty-eight years. In 1815 he was elected principal surgeon.
He was lecturer in anatomy at the Royal College of Surgery (1814) and was associated with the writing of an encyclopedia of anatomy.
Abernethy is not famous as a surgeon. However, its name is associated with the treatment of aneurysm by ligation of the external iliac artery. Medical and dental training and research.

In this volume 3 - Chapter 20 "Diagnosis", a skeleton discovered in a cave in Jamaica is sent to J. Abernathy by Horace Thompson an anthropologist. With Claire, they observe, analyze and find that it is a woman of the European type who has been murdered: “A broken neck? ". 


Have you ever had premonitory flashes during your readings?
I anticipated the rest of the story and here is my vision: At this moment, I imagine Claire killing with a sword to prevent Geillis from leaving and to save her daughter. 

When the question was put to Diana she never answered it precisely: "Maybe - Yes - maybe not .." the question is not on the agenda for her ... but I am obliged to ask me the question ... They have the same name, it is the same place for the discovery of the skeleton which landed as if by chance on the desk of Doctor J. Abernathy ...

And you what do you think ? (You can leave your suggestion and theory using the comments at the end of the article)

As a lecturer and teacher, he was extremely attractive, and his success in teaching was largely due to the persuasive force with which he expressed his opinions.
The fame he achieved in his practice was due not only to his great professional competence, but also in part to his eccentricity. He was very direct with his patients, often treating them abruptly and sometimes even rudely. He resigned his post at St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1827 and died at his residence in Enfield on April 20, 1831.
He was also a precursor.
He wrote a collection on the treatment of certain diseases (1809) known as "My Book" which was one of the first popular works in medical science.
His zeal in encouraging patients to read the book was so great that he earned the nickname "Doctor My Book".
He taught that illnesses were often the result of disordered states of the digestive organs and had to be treated by purging and diet. For him, treating poor digestion was essential to restore health.

This is how he invented and will give his name to, "a digestive cookie" called the Abernethy cookie which he promoted until his death. In recent years, cookies have been associated with Scotland, possibly because of their inventor's grandfather's connection to the town of Abernethy near Perth.
Dr Abernethy was however born, raised, educated and worked in England and it was in England that his cookies were first made.
As some documents prove, this cookie is still marketed and some recipes can be found on the net.