In today’s world, going to the doctor is a routine and safe practice. But what if we told you that in the 19th century, visiting a doctor could actually be deadly? This may sound like an exaggeration, but medicine in America during the 1800s was drastically different from what it is now. With virtually no regulations in place, anyone could claim to be a physician, regardless of their qualifications.
Medical science was also unsophisticated, with many surgeons unsure of what caused infections, leading to gruesome treatments such as limb amputations. And as for sterilization practices, well, let’s just say blood-encrusted aprons were a common sight. It wasn’t until the development of the germ theory and the insistence of individuals like Semmelweis that medical professionals began to understand the importance of cleanliness and disease prevention. Join us as we explore the fascinating and sometimes gruesome history of medicine in the 19th century.
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Top image: Historic medicine. Top image: Kai Beercrafter / Adobe Stock.