Colonial Medicine And Doctors Essay

2543 words - 11 pages

Colonial Medicine and Doctors The best health care today is considered to be in the United States of America. The most highly trained physicians, nurses, and medical support staff have been trained and work in United States hospitals. Through medical research and the genius of countless scientist many of the horrible diseases have been erased from the United States and the rest of the world. Even many types of cancer are now more treatable and highly curable. Through technology, much of the medical equipment used throughout the world was invented in America. It?s hard to imagine that approximately 400 hundred years ago, the early settlers to this continent, would be the forbearers of the ...view middle of the document...

Medicine was based on mainly on myth and medical personnel had little knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. It was illegal to dissect the people who died, so the little knowledge they had was based on what they learned from animals. In the 1630?s physicians would be allowed to experiment on diseased criminals and suicides. It was then that there would be a gradual improvement in their ability to understand and treat medical conditions. For centuries England had been plagued by epidemics such as smallpox and cholera. There was little that could be done to treat patients and much of the population perished. There were universities and doctors began to be trained in the universities and by working with their teacher physicians. Physicians were expensive to use so many people relied on many other people who performed medical and surgical care of the population.There were many kinds of people considered medically skilled. However poorly they were able to help, some were quacks, yet the most skilled and important would be physicians. They were the most highly trained providers of medical care; some might have studied medicine for ten years at a university in England. When they were finally qualified and on their own, only they could prescribe medicine and perform operations. (Gates pg.13) Apothecaries would open a shop for their career. An apothecary sold foods such as; flour and sugar, herbs, and spices. They also gave advice on how to treat your ailment. They were skilled in mixing herbal cures. They spend a few years as an apprentice with a master apothecary for their education. They were cheaper than doctors and were a good choice for the ill and for those who could not afford to see a doctor. There were several in every town and city. (Gates pg. 13) The New World, just as England, would need surgeons with great skill as well. They are usually called bone cutters. Chirurgeons was another name for surgeons who specialized in chopping off limbs and arms. Their instruments were crude and never sterile. Qualified surgeons belonged to a guild. The more expensive a surgeon was, the more skilled he probably was. (Gates pg. 13) Barbers would be going over to the New World as well, for the settlers would need a hair cut every once and awhile. However barbers do more than cut hair and shave people they also perform minor surgery such as wart removal, opening boils and many more I have not mentioned. Barbers trained as apprentices and did not charge a high fee because not all people could afford it. The best barbers belonged to a guild and by finding out their patient outcomes would reveal the most skilled. (Gates pg. 13) Last, but probably most importantly, were the midwives. Midwives were found in every village and city in England. They were women and were well known where they lived. Midwives gave free care were very experienced in medical care and childbirth. They were also a good source of herbal care. The ill usually saw a midwife first so they...

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