Medicine through time

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Surgery during the Medieval Era

During medieval times Surgery and knowledge of the Anatomy was developed as dissection was allowed. Doctors would, as part of their training, be lectured on the theories of Galen and often a dissection would form part of this teaching. However it was a demonstrator, rather than the doctor, who performed this and often mistakes would be made or inaccuracies blamed upon poor workmanship rather than ill-informed theories: meaning that for a long time the anatomical works of Galen and the Islamic physicians went unchallenged in Western Europe.

The age-old problem of unsuccessful surgery was however partially dealt with. Doctors recognised that infection and pain were the primary causes of death during surgery. To combat this they started to use wine as an antiseptic and drugs to ease pain. Surgery was still limited to the removal of cysts, cataracts and minor operations to cure wounds, a procedure which developed as a result of conflicts (although each time doctors worked out how to remove a type of arrow head from the body a new type of arrow was introduced).

Medicine in the Middle Ages - other pages in this section:

Unit home page - Medieval Surgery - Change in the Middle Ages - The role of Religion - The Black Death - Activities



Medicine in the Middle Ages

The third book in the History of Medicine series. This book explores a range of areas often forgotten by GCSE students. The book provides a clear narrative of the way in which the Black Death spread, and of the range of beliefs that influenced decisions about treatments. The book also provides an interesting insight into the role of monasteries, women and the development of surgical and medical practices at the time.

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