Important Landmarks Which Contributed To The Development Of Surgery

1405 words - 6 pages

The Austrian surgeon, Theodor Billroth (1829-1894), is generally regarded as the founding father of modern abdominal surgery. The Austrian physician, Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943), is noted for his development in 1901 of the modern system of classification of blood groups. In early 1840s surgery began to change dramatically in character with the discovery of effective and practical anesthetic chemicals such as ether and chloroform. And cases related to the appendix opened doors to abdominal surgeries allowing causes to become discovered and ways to performing better surgeries. These contributions were directly the landmarks in the development of surgery.Historically, the earliest known ...view middle of the document...

All of these do not require the opening of the abdomen/chest as this was the limit of surgery.Progressively, physicians realized that an essential part of surgery was speed. In 1846 marked the changing point in surgery. During this time, physicians were able to put their patients to sleep before performing surgery and therefore physicians would be able to take their time. Also, surgeries became much less painful after this year; and it opened many doors to new kinds of patients who had a choice. It allowed growth for medical professions as well (ie. McGill offers MDCG). In 1863, General Surgical Pathology and Therapeutics (tr. from German), Theodor Billroth (1829-1894) voiced his opinion about surgeons had to be physicians and vice-versa. He emphasized both physicians and surgeons needed to have the same knowledge. He reasoned his opinion saying knowing medical state of a patient was important for any surgery. It was during this time that finally the prestige of surgery began to increase.Blood loss was a big loss for surgery; and the idea that this can be prevented by tying vessels was introduced by F. Esmarch. He was a military surgeon who proposed the idea that when a surgery is performed in a part that has blood coming out from two arteries, these arteries can be "clamped" to reduce blood loss. From William Harvery's time (1578-1657), people thought physicians can transfuse blood (replace it) from other sources (ie. Dogs, etc.); this notion was corrected by Theodor Billroth. In his book (New York, 1886), Billroth talks about statistics which was fairly a new concept and he modified the idea of transfusion and attempted to put blood from one human into another human. It was the first time the concept of different blood groups appear in different people was introduced. He said that one person may have a blood group similar to another person. However, it was Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943) who went on to say there were four groups of blood, as we know it today: A, B, AB, O. Karl Landsteiner investigated blood groups in an attempt to find which group of blood he was able to put together. This was a landmark in the development of surgery as it removed the danger of transfusion that was previously present. Now it is used with care.Before the advent of anesthesia, surgery was a traumatically painful procedure and surgeons were encouraged to be as swift as possible to minimize the patient suffering. In the past, alcohol and coco-plants were used as anesthetic but these were not effective in reducing pain during surgery; therefore surgery was not normally performed. In fact, this meant that operations were largely restricted to amputations and external growth removals. The need for strict hygiene during procedures was little understood, which often resulted in life threatening post-operative infections in patients. People tried various ways to anesthetize by experimenting. N2O (laughing gas) was widely used, a diary of an opium eater showed that a person...

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