Medieval Medical Market Place Essay

1580 words - 7 pages

The control of the medical market in medieval Europe, specifically in Britain and France was under little authority, unlike in neighboring regions like Italy and Germany. With little control, services were offered to the population by "specialists" whether or not they had a license or some examined degree of competency, and with a medical market place with an increasingly high demand, supply was erupting from different sources to meet different demands for different illnesses for varying demographics creating some key players in the medical market place. The variation in roles of these new players in the medical world is what started the medical market place in the first place. Potions, pills, ointments, and home-made remedies and drugs were sold by apothecaries at their own shops. Medical Physicians prepared drugs to order by each patient after examining them. Barber-surgeons offered services in shaving and hair-cutting, but also added to their trade bloodletting, tooth extractions, amputations and other repulsive yet well needed services. Female surgeons, if allowed to practice, treated female patients (Science Museum). Indeed they were many players in the medieval medical market place, each with their own skills, demographics, successes and failures. Patients were "customers" and they sometimes had options pertaining to the services they need, some options are more expensive than others, some are safer than others, and some maybe more convenient than others, however unlike other market places a successful service could very well save lives, while others may not solve an issue or ailment, or even cause more harm to the patient, which was a common case. To get a good idea of the range of the Medieval medical market place, we can take a look at the two key players to make a comparison. One side would be what was believed to be the most advanced medicine at the time backed up by the academia and practiced by the educated and licensed physicians and the other side would be the unlicensed Barber-Surgeon who likely haled from a lower class and usually serviced the lower class unless if they were the only place to go for a particular service, like getting a tooth extraction. It might be worthwhile to investigate what major differences did these two venues possess and why both services were much needed by the public yet there were conflicts between the them, for example according to historian Mary Lindemann, fewer children of prosperous parents chose surgery because they came from inferior backgrounds, lacked the preparatory education. And so there may have been a sense of competition between the two professions, with physicians advising against going to barber-surgeons. While the physician might appeal to patients by promoting greater trust with the patients and advising against dangers of going to someone else in the medical market place, going to a barber-surgeon was a service that patients needed, and can't get anywhere else. Their services were...

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