Edexcel History of Medicine

Brief Cards outlining the history of medicine for Edexcel.

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Edwin Chadwick

Employed by Poor Law Commission as a civil servant in 1830s

Was asked to produce a report on living conditions for the rich and poor in both the countryside and the city.

Found that life for the working class in cities was very bad and was the worst for Liverpudlians. Also found out that life was best for upper and middle class people living in the countryside.

He realised that workers would be more efficient if they were healthier and this could be achieved by improving living conditions and public health.

1842 Report on sanitary conditions of the labouring population.

1848 Public Health Act passed which encouraged local councils to improve living conditions in inner-city areas.

1854 and 1865 Cholera returned.

1875 Public Health Act passed which made improving living conditions compulsory.

Poor lived in crowded conditions.

Problems made better by improved drainage and sewers, cleaner streets, clean water and by medical officers making regular checks to areas.

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Traditional painkillers included alcohol, opium and mandrake.

1799 Humphry Davy identified Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a possible anaesthetic but this was ignored by surgeons of the time.

1846 John Warren did a public demonstration of the use of ether as an anaesthetic. Although it worked it irritated the lungs, caused coughing and was unstable forcing people to search for an alternative.

1847 James Simpson discovered that chloroform was an effective anaesthic. However, it faced opposition as it was untested but this died down when it was used and then praised by Queen Victoria. Later it was found to cause liver damage leading to a return to ether.

Some surgeons didn't like anaesthetics as being a skilled surgeon meant you could do operations quickly with minimum pain, however, this skill was made redundant by the elimination of pain.

With the elimination of pain more complex operations could be now undertaken but this led to a higher chance of infection.

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usefull, but to much on a slide

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