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Operations in the early 19th century resulted in a high death rate. Explain why so many patients sis not survive there operations.

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Task 1: Operations in the early 19th century resulted in a high death rate. Explain why so many patients sis not survive there operations. In the early 19th century the amount of operations carried out each week was a very small amount when compared to today's figures. There were many reasons for this, but one was the patients attitudes towards allowing themselves have an operation. It was well known at this time the conditions of hospitals. They were very unsanitary and the majority of people did not come out alive. Before 1847, patients that underwent an operation in hospital did so as a last resort. There chances of survival were minimal. This was common knowledge and because of this many people did not want to go to hospital to receive the treatment they needed. An operation in the 19th century usually consisted of an amputation of a limb or the removal of bladder stones. During the operations the patient would be able to feel the doctor cutting into there skin and the pain would be immense. At this time there were few antiseptics and usually the only form of pain relief was to drink yourself silly with alcohol, in the hope that you would pass out and numb the pain of the operation. ...read more.


Under the operating table there would be a box of sawdust that would be used to catch all the blood that spewed from the patient's body. Because of the immense amount of blood lost during the operation, the box would have to be replaced with fresh sawdust, and the blood soaked sawdust throne away. The surgeon would use various instruments to carry out his work. Scalpels would be used to cut the outer skin and for the outward incisions and many forceps would be placed in the fresh wound to prod and move about in all directions. The most gruesome but vital instrument was the saw. This would be used to cut through the bone of the limb and would need to be very sharp to make a quick and actuate cutting. After a surgeon had finished all of his operations for the day, he would hang up his blood and puss stained coat, wash his hands and forearms and proceed to go around his ward. At this time there was little understanding of the concept that for patients to recover from surgery, they needed to be kept away from any germs that they may catch. ...read more.


The surgeon was expected to carry out the operation in under a minuet which is far too short a time to make sure they were precise in there work. If the surgeon was unlucky they could hit a major artery and a patient would die from blood loss. Because of this, speed was the cause of mistakes which ultimately could kill the patient. Surgeons needed something to enable them to take more time with there work and allow them to operate for longer. At this time death rates were extremely high as a result of unclean hospitals and the lack of knowledge that the doctors about medicine when compared to today's standards. The nurses at this time were awful. Many of them were drunk half the time, and most did not have any medical knowledge of the patient's condition and had no idea about the after care the patient needed. They were not trained and nursing was not seen ad a profession at all and most nurses would be women from the factories that had been sacked or were drunkards. The general standard of hygiene affected the death rates but the general attitude and level of knowledge that the doctors had at this time also affected the amount of deaths in hospitals. Doctors were very negative towards new ideas and did not try to be accepting of them. ?? ?? ?? ?? Millie Popovic ...read more.

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