Using Sources A and B, and your own knowledge, describe two significant changes in medicine in the period 1450 - 1700.

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Medicine Coursework Study Sources A and B and use your own knowledge. Using Sources A and B, and your own knowledge, describe two significant changes in medicine in the period 1450 - 1700. a) Whilst women weren't trained in medicine during this time period, their traditional roles as healers and midwives were still important ones but women only ever performed them. These roles were just extensions of their status as housewives which can be seen by the way they performed such tasks. Women would use their knowledge of herbs to concoct remedies for the sick and they would record them in recipe books to be handed down to their children. They would also hand down certain recipes by word of mouth. Source A supports this in that it shows a lay Sister preparing a remedy in just such a way. With the arrival of a more medicine-aware society, the role of healer shifted into the hands of merchants and businessman. New drugs coming in from foreign lands, such as the New World, were handled by these very people and were not available to women. Source B shows that when it says: New and expensive cures were developed using the drugs imported as a result of trade between Europe and India, China and the New World. These drugs were handled by merchants and businessmen, surgeons and chemists. They were not easily available for women to use. They were obtained by men, handled by men, and sold to men. The traditional medicine-woman was left with her herbs, which were far less successful than the new drugs now available on the market. It was not long before women were forced out of their other traditional role, professional midwifery. In 1620 Peter Chamberlain invented the forceps and put the role of the midwife firmly in the hands of trained physicians due to the necessity of some knowledge of anatomy.


Surgeons knew nothing about germs, these tiny organisms went unnoticed for hundreds of years, causing infection and gangrene, sometimes even death. So surgeons wore old dirty, bloodstained clothes during the operation. They did not wash their hands or knifes. Some surgeons even carried their stitching thread around wrapped around the buttons of their filthy coats, so it wasn't surprising that so many patients died of infection. From reading the works of Pasture and studying at university Lister knew all of this, and began to study his idea. Lister finds out that each surgeons hands are covered by millions of bacteria. Now that Lister knew all of this he could begin searching for a germ killing agent, he tried many different formula's before he found Carbolic Acid. Carbolic Acid is very strong, at first Lister soaked the bandages in the substance and he found that the wound didn't go bad because the Carbolic Acid was killing off the germs. Then Lister tried washing his hands and instruments in the Acid before an operation and found that it had a similar effect, he insisted that all doctors do the same. For easy dispensation Lister invented a Carbolic Acid Sprayer, as well as covering the bandages in the substance he encouraged doctors to spray the wound and the room that the patient was to be treated in. One of Listers main problems was persuading people to believe his theories, he was laughed at by many, after all he had to convince doctors that it wasn't silly to spray something that they couldn't see. The only down side to his Carbolic Acid was its strength, it was so strong that prolonged exposure or large amounts of it being sprayed could cause burning of the skin an irritation of the eyes. However in the end Listers theories where proven right and his methods worked, we know this because nearly all of Listers patients survived the operations and their wounds never went bad.


When Vesalius first began his career in the study of medicine he had to secretly steal the skeletons from the gallows. During the many wars that where happening during the 1500-1600's a change in medicine was forced upon the shoulders of the doctors, new medication and treatment had to be made for the treatment of wounds that the soldiers had. In a cruel twisted was this was the perfect time to try out new remedies. Ambroise Paré made significant progress in gunshot wound treatment during the wars. Antiseptic's where one of the biggest changes in the development of surgery in medical history. If I was to choose among the greatest development to surgery, Louis Pasteur would certainly rank at the top. He solved the mysteries of rabies, anthrax, chicken cholera, and silkworm diseases, and contributed to the development of the first vaccines. He set the stage for modern biology and biochemistry. He described the scientific basis for fermentation, wine-making, and the brewing of beer. Pasteur's work gave birth to many branches of science, and he was single-handedly responsible for some of the most important theoretical concepts and practical applications of modern science. The germ theory was the foundation of numerous applications, such as the large scale brewing of beer, wine-making, pasteurisation, and antiseptic operations. Another significant discovery facilitated by the germ theory was the nature of contagious diseases. Pasteur's realised that if germs were the cause of fermentation, they could just as well be the cause of contagious diseases. This proved to be true for many diseases such as potato blight, silkworm diseases, and anthrax. After studying the characteristics of germs and viruses that caused diseases, he and others found that laboratory manipulations of the infectious agents can be used to immunise people and animals. The discovery that the rabies virus had a lag-time before inducing disease prompted the studies of post-infection treatment with weakened viruses. This treatment proved to work and has saved countless lives. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adam Radford 11L Centre No 31090

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