Saturday, July 16, 2011

Medicinal Practices and Apparatus of the 1800s

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Today’s Blog Post
The skull drill
Medicinal Practices and Apparatus of the 1800s
MY granddaughter looked at me like I was insane and stated the obvious, “Why would anyone do that. That is crazy! What was wrong with them?!?”

I had told her about the amazing presentation by Nancy McLeod at the seniors group the other day. Nancy had spoken about the Medicines and Cures of the 1800s. She had also shown her collection of apparatus that were used by the medical experts – Doctors – or that age.

I had described to Emma the use of the drill kind of tool(pictured above) that was used to drill a hole into the skull and take a piece of bone out when a person had a headache. Then the small pieces of bone fragments were fished out of the opening and that were laying on the exposed piece of the brain. All the while this was being done, there were no rubber gloves, no “wash ups” before surgery and absolutely no idea of that Germs even existed – or that infection was possible and could kill the person.

The fact is that they did use the “infection” idea as part of a cure. The person with the hole drilled in their skull had puss leaking from the opening. The person was turned over to allow as much puss to drain from the opening as possible to get the bad stuff out.

And this happened over the next year as the person was expected to remain in bed.

It was about then that Emma looked at me in total disgust and made her pronouncement.

At 13 years old and living in 2011 she already knows better and has a better ability than most practicing doctors of the 1800s… specially the nut cases that drilled holes in someone’s skull and drained the puss for a year later.

I couldn’t tell you or Emma all that Nancy told us. There was just too much to tell. Nancy had presented an amazing display of personal knowledge and information.

I am simply going to present a host of photos that I took and make some small notations of what each item was used for.

I am very glad that I live in 2011. I am amazed that any our family lived through the 1800s to even make it possible for me to be conceived and be born. That is the amazing miracle that our family survived what was offered.

And finally – I will never again complain about waiting for treatment in our local Emergency Department… or a stay in the Hospital. I am thankful for what is done for me… and the knowledge that they will not drill or drain my brain when I get a headache.

~ Murray Lincoln ~ 
 Very effective presentation of the apparatus and materials used to operate - not sterile at all

 The surgeon's kit - saws used to amputate legs and arms -etc - never washed or sterilized

 These apparatus were used to treat STD in men. The top one with the bulb on the end was for soldiers, the bottom one was for sailors.  Mixtures such as Silver Nitrate was infected up into the penis.  The resulting inflammation and secretion was the cure.  Now every man reading this will be cringing as he imagines the possibility.

 Bad pan that was used for people confined to a hospital bed. Contents were then thrown out the window of the hospital.

 Above is Blue Ray Machine - part of the Quackery Medicine machines that did nothing except extract cash from some one's pocket.

 A coffee grinder was a Hospital Tool and Coffee was a medicine

 French Envelope - envelope with the original condom inside - with a hope to prevent "Clap" - which was named from the feeling that came after urinating - to prevent STDs.

 The Enema Pump - it was thought that everyone's Bowls needed to be cleaned regularly and regular Enemas were practiced by almost everyone.  You got to wonder where the cowboys carried them Enema pumps while so far from home. Maybe that is why there was always beans cooking over the fire.

Horse hair sutures 

 Above - two different medicine cups

The Powdered Medicine chest - when the Doctor made the decision what was wrong with the person medicines were prepared and then given to the patient.  Opium and opiates were great help as well as Heroin.

 The preferred sedative - Spiritus Fermenti - good old booze!

 Everyone in the 1800s and earlier knew full well that Bad Blood was the root cause of any ailment.  So tools were developed to let the blood out - hopefully you were able to get the right "Bad Blood". If not you tried and tried again.  President George Washington died after a number of Blood Lettings - he just never felt better - so they let out more and more of his blood.  Now that is STUPID but it was what the Doctor ordered. I believe in second opinions - do you?

 Suturing kit

Above -  Full brain surgery kit - to help relieve headaches - which may well be caused by a need for reading glasses... but glasses were not yet invented to it was better to drill into the skull and let the puss out...

 Above - tools from left to right - tooth extractors beside the multi-blade cutting tool for letting blood - then bottom two tools for letting blood - slashes were made into the veins on the arm...

The wooden stethoscope - the longer the better - so the doctor didn't catch what the patient had.

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