Have you considered that doctors didn’t discover modern anesthesia until 1846? To think of what patients went through without anesthesia can be scary. So, be thankful that you live in a modern age where you can endure surgical procedures and invasive treatments without having to experience tremendous amounts of pain. Of course, it wasn’t as barbaric as you might think. Anesthesia has been used since the time of the Babylonians and Greeks, while in the 1200s, doctors used sponges soaked with opium and mandrake root. But this only did so much to minimize the pain.
In 1846, a dentist in Boston first used sulfuric ether. Why? To anesthetize a man who needed to remove a tumor from his neck. He started to expose himself and his pets to the fumes. When he was satisfied that it was safe to use, he began using it on his dental patients. Since then, other doctors have created and utilized other substances that provide pain-free experiences to their patients. That way, they can undergo procedures without the stress of pain. These substances included nitrous oxide, chloroform, cocaine, sodium thiopental, and cyclopropane, just to name a few.
Surgeries used to be very open. Surgeons had to cut parts of the body open in order to correct an issue. That sometimes led to massive loss of blood, the risk of infection, and a long recovery time because of how many stitches were needed to close up a patient. However, surgeries are now less invasive, where doctors insert tiny devices through incisions that are only a few inches wide and can still achieve the same results. Specialized equipment has small cameras on the ends of them so that surgeons can see exactly what they’re doing without a patient being fully cut open.
The many benefits of minimally invasive surgeries include less pain and less blood loss (so there’s less need for transfusions). Plus, there is less damage to the surrounding tissues, reduced risk of complications, and a faster recovery time. The less time a patient has to stay in the hospital, the better their chances are to improve when it comes to getting back to their usual routines. And because of the accuracy of these devices, there is less risk. Keep reading for more medical breakthroughs that changed the healthcare industry.
Artificial intelligence was once a thing of science fiction. There are movies about robotic overlords capable of taking over an entire planet, which made people a little afraid to adopt them. But over time, the medical field has recognized the importance of artificial intelligence and has implemented it into its practice. The most common applications include diagnosing patients or improving communication between the physician and the patient. They can transcribe medical documents like prescriptions. Plus, another benefit is remotely treating patients when a doctor is unavailable. Doctors also use artificial intelligence to classify skin cancers so that dermatologists can better treat their patients.
The implementation of artificial intelligence has made diagnosing and treatment of patients happen more quickly and effectively. Patients won’t have to endure a lengthy process of reaching a diagnosis. Instead, artificial intelligence can now narrow down symptoms, make it easier for physicians to spend more time on patients’ charts, and assist with any questions patients may have outside of the office hours. There is the hope that AI will be able to advance the healthcare sector in the future, though there are still many challenges to overcome.
1. The Development of Antibiotics Is One of the Best Medical Breakthroughs
Most people take antibiotics for granted. Before researchers discovered them, biotic infections were quite prevalent, and people easily succumbed to them. Diseases and infections like rheumatic fever, gonorrhea, or pneumonia had no treatment, so that patients would die from them. It wasn’t until Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and started putting it to good use in 1928 that people finally understood that they could actually live healthier lives. He examined his Petri dishes with colonies of Staphylococcus and found that one of the dishes was absent of bacteria where a spot of mold was growing.
Fleming later discovered that this mold was Penicillium notatum killed a wide range of harmful bacteria. He then got his assistants to help him isolate this mold and extract the penicillin. That way, he could use it for therapeutic purposes. Nine years later, it was then turned into a life-saving drug by a number of Oxford University colleagues. They worked on animals first through a series of clinical trials before they started implementing it with humans, using milk churns and bedpans to grow their cultures. Since discovering penicillin, experts have created hundreds of antibiotics to treat and counteract other bacterial infections and diseases.