Renaissance: Prevention and Treatment (Hospitals (Some were taken over…
Renaissance: Prevention and Treatment
Developments in training
In a handful of hospitals part of their training took place on the wards- First hand experience with observing the treatment of patients
They studied the work of Vesalius on anatomy and Harvey on physiology- continuity
Training emphasized the importance of taking a scientific approach, observing symptoms and trying out treatments
More doctors had the chance to dissect bodies so they could learn for themselves
New equipment developed such as microscopes and thermometers although these still needed a lot of improvement in the future
Played a major role in everyday medicine
First person that someone sick in the family would come to
Wealthy ladies provided care for local families
They acted as a midwife, nurse and in come cases a surgeon or physician (Women weren't seen as having the capability to train as a physician) to both the rich and the poor
People preferred to visit more familiar and cheaper remedies from apothecaries and their families
Thomas Hobbes said he would 'rather have the advice or take medicine from an experienced old women, who had been at many sick people's bedsides,than from the learnedest but experienced physician'
Handed down through generations- Mother to daughter
Girls learned how to mix up remedies- using ingredients such as honey (which we now know kills bacteria)
Remedies where often given when the women had seen positive effects from them in the past, not because she knew the ingredients were beneficial in treating that specific disease.
E.g malaria- The hair and nails of the patient, cut them into small pieces, feed them to birds in a roasted egg or put them in a hole in an oak tree. Stop up the hole with a peg of the same tree
Cure based on magic- not rational/ logical
Bleeding and purging
Very common treatment due to physicinas strong belif in the four humours (People fell ill because their humours were out of balance)
Used bleeding and purging to correct the balance, in reality it weakened the patient considerably
European travels to America and Asia brought new ingredients for treatments
E.g Rhubarb from Asia widely used to purge the bowels
God and the king
Between 1660 and 1682 over 92,000 people visited the King's court, believing that if Charles 2 touched them they would be cured from scrofula (a skin disease)
The king was God's representative on earth so being touched by him was as close as you could get to being touched by god.
Links into the theory of gods punishment causing disease
Many medieval hospitals were part of monasteries- closed when Henry VIII closed the monasteries in 1530.
Some were taken over by town councils
e.g In London the city council and charity helped keep St Bartholomew's Hospital open
By 1600s it has 12 wards and up to 300 patients, looked after by three physicians and three surgeons, 15 nursing sisters and a large number of nursing helpers.
The nursing sisters treated patients with herbal remedies but the nursing helpers did the heavy, manual work- washing, cleaning and preparing food and had no medical training.
St Bartholomew's was one of hospitals that were beginning to take in the sick and treat their illnesses.
Most still did not admit people with infectious diseases but just provided food, warmth and prayer for the poor- Anyone with any money paid for a doctor or nurse to look after them at home.
Influence of Vesalius
Proved Galen's work wrong through dissecting bodies
His discoveries were
The human jaw bone is made from one bone
The breastbone has three parts
Blood does not flow into the heart through invisible holes in the septum (Galen's suggestion). The Holes don't exist
Science and technology (Printing)- thousand of copies of his book (the Fabric of the Human body) were used all over Europe. A printer ensured there would be no mistakes
Individuals- Inventive and determined
He stole the body of a criminal to dissect
Attitudes:Seeking improvement- Believed in asking questions and challenging traditional ideas
Dissecting human bodies became more common and he urged doctors to do it
More knowledge on the body allows treatments to be adjusted to help improve them
Diagrams of the human body became a lot more accurate giving normal people and understanding of anatomy
New equipment was developed e.g microscopes
HOWEVER- Caused a huge controversy. A lot of physicians were angry that he had criticised Galen. Justification for Vesalius' discoveries was that the body had changed since Galen's time
They studied the work of Vesalius on anatomy and Harvey on physiology
New equipment was developed e.g microscopes and thermometres
Training emphasised the importance of taking a scientific approach, observing symptoms and trying out treatments