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Explain Why Improvements Were Needed In Surgery During The Nineteenth Century.

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Introduction

Explain Why Improvements Were Needed In Surgery During The Nineteenth Century. During the nineteenth century improvements were needed in surgery - one in five patients would die during or after surgery. Both medical and surgical knowledge was primitive and although amputation was the only successful form of surgery, it was risky and many people died from bleeding, infection, blood poisoning and haemorrhaging. Clinical shock was also a major problem. It was caused by a major drop in blood pressure and was a problem both in operating theatres and on the battlefields. This was a problem that needed to be overcome. ...read more.

Middle

These probes would neither be washed nor wiped from patient to patient. Medical students would also spread infection in an operating theatre. They would often come and operate on a patient after dissecting a corpse. The tools that were used in an operating theatre would also spread infection. In the 1880s wooden-handled tools and wounds would be constantly dabbed with the same sponge increasing the possibility of infection. A patient would have more chance of surviving an operation which took place in a doctor's surgery than in a hospital. Infection was a common factor after surgery and need to be improved. ...read more.

Conclusion

Surgeons would use alcohol and opium to relieve pain but this was not very affective. Methods such as hypothesis were used by John Elliotson and James Esdaile on patients. Others surgeons were very sceptical about this method though. Sir Humphrey Davis experimented with nitrous oxide which was successful in controlling pain during surgery. His assistant later found that ether was a better anaesthetic and so this was used. However James Simpson later discovered that ether had side effects when used in child birth. Simpson then tried out chloroform in 1847 as an anaesthetic. Overall surgical advances were needed due to the lack of medical knowledge. Anaesthetics were needed; antiseptics and knowledge about infection and bacteria were needed. Reducing the risk of surgery was another reason why improvements in surgery were needed. Sabina Begum ...read more.

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