Medicine in the Victorian Era Erika De Leon-6th

Medicine has led people to explore the physiology and science of the human body. Throughout the years, medicine has become a huge part of the way we live, impacting the world with all of its growing theories and discoveries. Medicine was an important part of the Victorian Era that soon developed into a big field through discoveries and education, allowed men and women to have jobs, and led people to have new theories that still impact the medical field today.

In the Victorian Era, medicine through discoveries and complex science. People and scientists allowed themselves to go further into the human body and the physiology.

"Harvey discovered the circulation of blood, William Hunter explained the lymphatic system, the workings of the nervous system were investigated, the physiology of respiration and digestion laid bare..." (Porter 61)

Discoveries and explanations about the human body led to the people to further investigate it and come up with new theories. This discovery had people think about all the diseases that could evolve from the circulation of blood and find out about the other systems.

"In 1858 Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) described the cellular changes that occurred during the clotting of blood and traced the development of diseases such as cancer." (Adams 25).

As soon as the discovery of the circulating blood was made, they found new diseases, like cancer. This was an early catch which led them to investigate further more and discover other evolving diseases. With the development of these illnesses, this led to making more technology and making it more advanced.

"Scientific advancements in surgery in the late-nineteenth century exposed men and women to new, sometimes injurious, medical procedures. But it also provided effective treatments for many previously untreatable conditions." (Adams 26).

The advancement of technology in medical science and surgery helped scientists and doctors to explore medicine, make new trials, and find cures for diseases.

As medicine developed, new buildings and schools were built for people to train and get jobs. Men and women began training at a young age to become doctors or have a career in the medical field.

"During the nineteenth century, hospitals (and the patients in them) became increasingly important for training medical practitioners. A few medical schools built teaching hospitals. In many other places, staff doctors has paying pupils who needed hospital experience before their licensing examination." (Swisher 92)

They built hospitals for medical students to learn and work there. People who practiced would soon become doctors, which in Victorian societies, meant they were part of the high class.

"At the top was the physician, whose job to diagnose the complaint, make a prognosis of likely developments, prescribe treatments and medicines (which the apothecary would then dispense), and provide attendance and advice." (Porter 11)

Physicians were at the top of the pyramid of practitioners. They were allowed to do many things like prescribe drugs and make observations. Although, when it came to making incisions, people would get very sick afterwards, and even led to death.

"At the beginning of the nineteenth century, with no anesthetics and no antibiotics, injuries that tore skin almost inevitably became infected." (Swisher 90)

Surgeons didn't have drugs or anesthetics to prevent incisions and cuts from getting infected. Soon, scientists and doctors to find new ways to heal people.

The discovery of new drugs allowed doctors and surgeons to make new trials, heal people, and cure diseases. Since there weren't any advanced treatments to keep patients from bleeding, they'd use their own treatments.

"A patient was bled by opening a vein or putting leeches on the skin. In the absense of ice, leeches helped reduce swelling and inflammation." (Mitchell 203)

Their technology wasn't as advanced, they didn't have any specific drugs to use for people to stop bleeding, they would use dangerous, little creatures. Soon, it led to the introduction of anesthetics and advanced treatments.

"The development of anesthesia began in Scotland when, in 1847, Sir James Simpson (1811-1870) introduced the use of ether to surgical practice." (Adams 25)

Anesthetics were then brought into the medical field to use for surgery which helped patients afterwards, they'd be in less pain. While anesthetics and other drugs began to develop, sanitation was still very poor, which was another cause for infection.

"Medical advances especially made significant headway in battling illness after Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister published their theories in 1860. These two scientists had concluded that infections were caused by germs and that they could be prevented by washing hands and scrubbing medical instruments to kill germs." (Wukovits 71)

Illnesses and infections would evolve from all the dirty and filthy equipment and tools they had. All the incisions and cuts they had made would later get infected. They realized that they needed to keep their equipment and hands clean when they performed surgery. This impacts medicine today, people learn about sanitation in the medical field and learn to keep everything clean.

Training in medical school in the Victorian Era wasn't easy due to their lack of high education and techniques. People who wanted to work in the medical field had to start a young age.

"Medical students (whether apprentices or paying pupils) began in their middle teens and had a reputation for rowdiness." (Swisher 85)

Because they started so young in their life, they would end medical school in their early 20s. This wasn't very good, due to their poor education, but it let them to having a full time job that paid very well and had them be in the highest social class. They didn't really learn about the details or go further into the lectures.

"Lectures were of poor quality, derived directly from the textbook reading and given without examples from case notes or specimens." (Adams 24)

They didn't have a lot of information and technology for them to use and learn from, their materials and techniques weren't very advanced, which is why they had such a low education.

In conclusion, medicine in the Victorian Era developed greatly throughout the years, through science, technology, discoveries, and education. Medicine has changed the way people think and live, and still evolving today.


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