Thank Goodness For Modern Medicine!

Not sure if Gill’s been reading history books lately or what, but she’s back again to talk about old things, this time medical ones. I, meanwhile, am reminded of this old video from the Onion.

From blood letting to surgery sans anesthesia I’m going to inform and probably disturb you with some facts. Sit back, get semi-comfortable, and well thank God you live now.

  • 1 Crocodile dung for birth control – Centuries before the pill and other less disgusting methods doctors would have women insert crocodile dung to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately it caused more infection than it helped.
  • 2 Blood Letting – although nowadays people just go off with a sheet of paper to the friendly neighborhood Pokington up until well in to the 19th century leaches and blades were used to treat anything from eye infections to sore feet. Gross, I’ll take Toberdex thank you!
  • 3 Hot irons for hemorrhoids – For this we go back to the Middle Ages, and if you had those literal pains in the behind forget the Prep H, go to your friendly neighborhood Monk who would in turn insert a hot iron where the sun doesn’t go.
  • 4 Heroine for coughs and colds – That’s right in the 1890’s they would give even children heroine laced cough syrups, and then they would wonder why little Jonny next door was pilfering the Anderson’s silver.
  • 5 Surgery with out anesthesia or antiseptic – Picture this it is 1835 and you have fallen from your horse and shattered your lower leg, with in a couple of days it has turned this beautiful shade of black and is smelling rather nasty. Your eldest child fetches the town doc, he comes running in surgical saw in hand, but what’s that you spot? That’s dried blood from a prior amputation, and didn’t he just indulge in your wife’s apple pie? Now he cuts away the gangrenous limb, and your awake to see the whole disgusting event. With no antibiotics your wife will soon be the widow Carson. In 1867 Dr. Joseph Lister figured out that infections could be prevented by cleaning the area with antiseptic.


What’s the most frightening historical medical treatment you would dread having?

Gillie telling you to stay healthy

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