Heroin, mercury, blood release, and surgical procedures that turn patients into apathetic zombies. Swedish Illustrerad Vetenskap offers a peek into the terrible archive of medicine. Here are ten of the biggest mistakes doctors made from antiquity to the 20th century – and only one of them brought not suffering, but pleasure.
Take a look at the terrible archive of medicine and get acquainted with the ten most terrible medical errors in history.
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, some women suffered from “hysteria”. Doctors treated this ailment with the help of a massage apparatus, which brought them to orgasm.
However, the results were very unstable, and the treatment had to be repeated at intervals of several weeks.
“Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup” is the name given to the remedy that many parents gave their restless children in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The medicine contained morphine, which caused addiction in children, and even killed many.
For most of the 20th century, science has stated that homosexuality is a disease that can be cured.
Therefore, doctors subjected homosexuals to a variety of treatments from “homosexuals” and hypnosis to psychotherapy and electroshock.
The tobacco plant was brought to Europe from America, where doctors began to praise nicotine for its medicinal properties.
Today, tobacco is considered the main cause of lung cancer.
In 1898, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer began selling heroin as a cough and tuberculosis drug.
The chemists of the company were sure that the new drug was not addictive.
From the Stone Age to the middle of the Middle Ages, ancient surgeons tried to treat such ailments as migraines by removing part of the cranial bone or making holes in the skull.
The idea was that through the hole evil spirits come out of the head. Such operations were incredibly painful, and the risk of developing the infection was very high, however, excavations indicate that surprisingly many patients survived.
In principle, trepanation is still used today, for example, in the treatment of the effects of cerebral hemorrhages.
For several thousand years, doctors have been convinced that virtually everything can be cured with mercury. The Chinese emperor Ying Zheng (259 – 210 century BC), for example, took liquid metal all his life, despite the fact that his tongue was swollen and his gums inflamed.
Today, doctors know that mercury disrupts the brain, increases blood pressure, harms digestion, causes breathing problems, and contributes to the development of depression and anxiety.
Doctors once believed that illnesses arise from an imbalance in the body’s main body fluids: blood, mucus, yellow bile, and black bile. Bloodletting was supposed to save the patient from an excess of one of the fluids, but often it ended very poorly.
One of the victims was the first US president, George Washington, who in 1799 allowed doctors to try to cure his throat infection with bloodletting.
The main task of the blood is the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Doctors released 3.75 liters of blood from Washington (80% of the total volume), after which he became very weak and died on the same day.
Bathing is not only unnecessary – because of it, you can also get the plague. So doctors believed in the XVI century. “Baths and baths need to be banned, because after them the skin becomes soft and the pores open. Because of this, as we could see, plague-infected dirt enters the body and causes instant death, ”said, for example, the French court physician Ambroise Paré in 1568.
Therefore, for nearly 300 years, Europeans avoided soap and water, and only in the most extreme cases, they gently washed their skin if the contamination could not be removed with a dry towel.
However, aversion to water was a catastrophic mistake.
The plague was transmitted with flea bites, namely because of the uncleanliness of people, fleas spread. During the time that doctors needed to think of something better, their delusion took millions of lives.
Such an eerie treatment has never received such magnificent recognition as in 1949, when Egas Moniz was awarded the Nobel Prize for the invention of “dissection of white matter” – lobotomy. Doctors of that time believed that a lobotomy cured the mentally ill, but in fact this procedure turned them into “vegetables”.
The Portuguese neurosurgeon Egash Monish in 1935 came to the conclusion that he could make patients with psychiatric illnesses calm and obedient, cutting the nerve connections in the frontal lobes.
According to his idea, the dissection of white matter allowed to separate the thinking part of the brain from the sensory. Doctors around the world have adopted the Monish method.
One of them improved the operational method so that the procedure took only six minutes. An instrument resembling an awl was driven into the frontal lobe through the cranial bone just above the eyeball, after which the doctor moved them up and down.
Then the same thing was repeated over the other eye. At least 50 thousand people underwent lobotomy.
After this, the emotional life of the majority became very limited, because it is the frontal lobes that are responsible for the person’s personality. Many, for example, began to act like little children or suffer from dementia, if not at all, turned into real zombies.
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