Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through the Ages

By Nathan Belofsky

Strange drugs casts a gimlet eye at the perform of medication throughout the a while that highlights the main doubtful rules, extraordinary remedies, and largest mistakes. From undesirable technology and oafish habit to stomach-turning strategies that damage greater than helped, Strange Medicine provides unusual yet real evidence and an honor roll of medical professionals, scientists, and dreamers who inadvertently became the clock of medication backward:

• the traditional Egyptians utilized electrical eels to medication gout.
• Medieval dentists burned candles in sufferers’ mouths to kill invisible worms gnawing at their teeth.
• Renaissance physicians timed surgeries in response to the placement of the celebs, and suggested epileptics to assemble clean blood from the newly beheaded.
• Dr. Walter Freeman, the world’s ultimate practitioner of lobotomies, practiced his craft whereas touring on kinfolk camping out journeys, cramming the again of the station wagon with kids—and surgical tools—then hammering ice choices into the attention sockets of his sufferers in among hikes within the woods.

Strange Medicine is an illuminating landscape of scientific background as you’ve by no means obvious it prior to.

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One concluded that spontaneous human combustion was once a gradual, slow approach, according to the fellow who lay atop a massive oven, in simple terms to get up and locate that his arm burned off. such a lot accomplished, possibly, was once the learn of twenty-eight human ignitions released through the Boston scientific magazine. It concluded that sufferers tended to be very fats, delivering extra gas for the hearth, or very thin, making them dry, like tinder. What really brought on the phenomenon used to be anybody's bet, and experiments proved unreliable. A learn of fireflies went nowhere. Watkins attempted to set fireplace to the physique of a pirate, however it didn ' t burn after a number of hours, and he went domestic. Theories abounded. within the Lancet, Jons Jacob Berzelius preferred neutralization of adverse electricities, yet F. J. A. Strubel believed flames have been brought on by way of the breakdown of water molecules into flammable oxy-hydrogen gasoline. Dr. B. Frank of Gottingen concept combustion used to be brought on by sophisticated thermodynamic reactions one of the body's phosphoric compounds. dependent upon a Royal Society of Paris document of a butcher who bought burned whilst he minimize the bloated physique of an ox, a few suggestion combustion used to be because of the ignition of hydrogen sulfide in the physique hollow space. by means of the 20th century, in revered clinical journals not less than, the phenomenon had burned itself out. Childbed Fever the nice Ignaz Semmelweis died by myself and annonymous, as used to be meant. whilst Semmelweis grew to become leader resident of Vienna common health facility in 1 846, girls giving delivery there dropped lifeless so quickly and so frequently that extra savvy moms selected to bring at domestic. within the sanatorium, while a lifeless mother's physique used to be carted from maternity to morgue, the corpse might frequently be came upon filled with " clotted milk. " The "milk, " which we now recognize was once contaminated pus, used to be regarded as brought on by an " air of mystery, " or " atmospheric affects, " putting like a cloud over the health center. Semmelweis didn 't find out about germs, yet he did comprehend that an identical medical professionals who minimize open lifeless moms within the morning brought stay infants within the afternoon, with no washing in among. He suspected it was once anything from those medical professionals, no longer a few mysterious vapor, that used to be killing the sufferers. Semmelweis insisted that the medical professionals wash themselves, yet they have been insulted and refused. between older, extra proven clinical males, donning a crusty, bloodstained smock and sporting that " health facility scent" was once thought of a badge of honor. extra open-minded interns all started washing their palms, and moms stopped demise. however the health facility ' s more matured medical professionals, and the Viennese clinical magazine, ran Semmelweis out of city. extra moms died. In 1 865, Semmelweis was once installed a straitjacket and locked away. while he died, it sounds as if from infection he received at the ward, his local Hungarian organization of Physicians refused to print his obituary. His unhappy, sordid finish proved, as soon as and for all, that he have been loopy all alongside. Semmelweis ' s home is now a museum. An Austrian coin bears his likeness, and Viennese ladies provide start in defense on the Semmelweis Klinik.

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