Surgery notes 1845-1918

history, surgery 1845-1918, notes about pain, infection and blood loss

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  • Created on: 05-06-11 10:26
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They used to drink alcohol to numb operations.
You could go to watch a surgery
Robert Liston-one of the fastest surgeons
Liston never washed hands
He performed surgeries other surgeons wouldn't
Had to operate fast so patient didn't die of shock
Liston could remove a limb in 26 seconds
You had to live with deformities/growths had to suffer
Bladder stone operations-insert a rod into the penis then push the stone out through a cut
between the legs
High success rate-45 seconds
Liston was suspected of grave robbing
Willow bark, mandrake and lordium-pain relief agents
Some people got drunk before operations but it didn't happen often as surgeons liked them
to be awake so they could tell if they were alive
Ether used in America
It was one of the first anaesthetics
It could make patients cough and vomit while unconscious
In 1846, US dentist William Morton used ether for 1st time during an operation to remove a
neck tumour
Dr John Snow made ether use charts and inhalers for correct dosage
Anaesthesia lead to more complex surgeries
It was mildly explosive
It blew up operating theatres
The facemask made surgery on the jaw difficult
It was uncomfortable for some patients
Humphrey Davy-nitrous oxide/laughing gas
Used in dentistry
Surgery left to barber surgeons
Surgeons were trained in war: they were needed and they got more experience and
practice in war
Used wine as an antiseptic
They had no idea about the germ theory
Medicine was mixed with superstition
If a patient survived an operation they could still die from an infection
There was no cleanliness in hospitals, and no knowledge of germ theory
Semmelweiss was appalled to see women dying in huge numbers after childbirth from
puerperal fever. It was passed on from students coming from dissections and not washing
their hands. Semmelweiss tried to get them to sanitize their hands in chloride of lime and the
death rate went down. People didn't believe him and after he was fired and they stopped
his ideas the death rate went up again.
Lister analysed germ theory (Louis Pasteur 1861) and developed carbolic acid spray which
killed all germs in operating theatres.
Carbolic spray was not welcome: it was unpleasant for doctors and nurses, it was heavy,
expensive, it cracked skin, damaged lungs and nurses resented the extra work it brought.
Professors Neuber and Ernst Bergman insisted all surgeon's clothes, hands and instruments
were sterilised before use
William Halstead developed rubber gloves for all doctors and nurses.
This lead from antiseptic surgery to aseptic surgery

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They tried transfusing animal blood into humans in the 19th century but the patient died
They tried human-to-human but did not know about blood groups and the patient rejected
the donor blood and ended up dying
Karl Landsteiner discovered the blood groups A, B and O in 1901. Then discovered AB in
1902. This meant it was possible for doctors to make sure they are giving a patient the right
blood.…read more


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