Health

Victorian Medical Practices That’ll Make You Glad You Live Today

Cleanliness In Hospitals and At Home Cleanliness wasn’t next to godliness back in the late 1800s and early 1900s when it came to medical tools, offices,… Trista - December 20, 2022
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Cleanliness In Hospitals and At Home

Cleanliness wasn’t next to godliness back in the late 1800s and early 1900s when it came to medical tools, offices, and even homes. Doctors wouldn’t wash medical equipment like saws, scalpels, bedding, and gowns between patients. While medicine wasn’t widely understood, these doctors just did what they could to treat patients’ symptoms. Often, patients would meet with their doctor only to leave with another type of illness from improperly cleaned medical tools. Hygiene wasn’t as important as today, either, or people would go weeks without a bath. We bet it makes you glad you live today with all of our proper amenities!

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The Dangers of Surgery

Surgery was dangerous during Victorian times, but not for the reasons you might think. The danger was in the fact that everything was dirty. While a lot of patients passed away on the operating table, some survived, only to die later at home from infection. Doctors didn’t believe in cleanliness back then. Operating rooms would be used repeatedly for different patients without being cleaned. Surgical tools were often left bloody. One of the top priorities at the time was keeping the patient alive when it should have included things to keep them healthy, like cleaning surgical instruments. When a patient would come back to see the doctor with a pus-filled wound, the doctor would believe the wound was healing instead of becoming more infected. It was a dangerous time to be alive! Cleanliness during surgery didn’t become a priority until the early 1900s.

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

Bloody hands, dirty knives: The horrors of Victorian medicine | AAMC

10 Dubious Victorian Cures From the First Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy | Mental Floss

Victorian Medicine – Simple History

What Medicines Were Used in the 1800s?

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century – Victoria and Albert Museum

Gruesome and Shocking Facts About Victorian Surgery

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