For instance, perhaps you’d prefer a doctor who wasn’t nostalgic for the era of the toga-clad practitioners?
Perhaps “Marvailous Cures performed by the stroaking of the Hands” sounds like a euphemism you’d rather not explore further? (At least not with him.)
Seventeenth century brain surgery anyone?
The civil war wasn’t a real good time to need a doctor either, although they were really trying hard and taking LOTS of notes. A+ for effort.
Not sure whether to be more concerned about the idea of “the reunition of the parts of the bodie disjoyned” or the fact that you could still check this book out of the library in 1941.
It wasn’t just doctors undertaking questionable cures, of course. This compendium of all the knowledge necessary to be a good English house-wife in 1683 has cures for hundreds of day-to-day complaints. Say you’re pissing in bed, just drink dried kid hoof in beer four or five times a day.
Burnt your man parts? (And who hasn’t?) Linen ash in egg oyle ought to do it.
Plague, on the other hand, you’ll have to find some Dragon water for that.
Let’s not even discuss where they got their cadavers in 1831.
And, last but not least, the mother-lode of terrifying old medicine: this surgical manual from 1739 and its dozens of large illustrations of surgical tools and techniques. Click through to see much more detail than you really want.
Eye surgery, anyone?
What really gets me is how calm all these patients look.
I think this might be treppaning. It is certainly ALL WRONG.
Eighteenth century obstetrics. Stuff of nightmares.
Believe it or not there were a good half dozen pages of this book that were too horrible to share even here.
(tongue-out-of-cheek, these medical pioneers laid the foundation for all the wonders of hygiene, precision, and efficacy that we now enjoy. They were doing the best they could. Really…. Except maybe Mr. Hands up there…)
All these book (and many more) are available in Archives and Special Collections. Come on over and disturb yourself in living color!