Hospitals in the 1800s

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Hospitals in the 1800s

Post  Pacome Schembri on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:04 pm

Today we consider Hospitals as a safe place, a place were when sick or hurt we can go and get help, but imagine hospitals were a place where you could go and get help but most likely while your at it die from infections, and other diseases. Most people that went into hospitals would never come out alive, but in the 1800s huge improvements were made in technology and science making hospitals a much safer place. A huge problem that hospitals had was that it was not very clean. Doctors would preform surgery with dirty instruments, the patient would live for a couple of days or even months but would die from infection. Soon doctors started realizing this they tried to find a way to prevent infections, and they did. Joseph Lister discovered how antiseptics would prevent infections, doctors before preforming surgery would clean their hands properly and clean their instruments with the antiseptics. So many new amazing medical advancements were made during this time, which we still use today.
-1800: Sir Humphry Davy announces the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide.
-1816: René Laënnec invents the stethoscope.
-1818: British obstetrician James Blundell performs the first successful transfusion of human blood.
-1842: An American surgeon Crawford W. Long uses ether as a general anesthetic during surgery but sadly did not publish his results so the Credit went to dentist William Morton.
-1844: Dr. Horace Wells, American dentist, uses nitrous oxide as an anesthetic.
-1867: Joseph Lister publishes Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, this book talks about one of the most important developments in medicine. Lister wanted to stop infection so he developed an antiseptic. In one hospital that adopts his methods, deaths from infection decrease from nearly 60% to just 4%.
1870: Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch establish the germ theory of disease. According to germ theory, a specific disease is caused by a specific organism. Before this discovery, most doctors believe diseases are caused by spontaneous generation. In fact, doctors would perform autopsies on people who died of infectious diseases and then care for living patients without washing their hands, not realizing that they were therefore transmitting the disease.
1879: First vaccine for cholera
1882: First vaccine for rabies
1895: German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovers X rays.
1897: First vaccine for plague.
1899 Felix Hoffman develops aspirin (from willow tree)
All these new ideas and medical technology came out around the 19th century bringing us to a new level of knowledge. Today hospitals are still improving trying to find cures for many diseases. I believe that improvements in medicine will never stop there is always more to learn and improve. Today thankfully when we go into hospitals we most of the time always come out alive. What do you believe hospitals will look like 50 or 100 years from now?


Hospitals in the 1800's

Hospitals today:

Pacome Schembri

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