medicine through time 4 brief sub topics

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Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner was a country doctor in glocestershire. He observed that milk maids who had contracted the mild disease cowpox did not catch the more deadly smallpox.

What did he do?

He infected an 8 year old local boy with the cowpox disease and once he had recovered he infected him with a strain of the more dangerous smallpox. But the boy did not catch the disease.

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Jenner resistance

Why did people oppose the vaccine?

  • Some people did not like the idea of anything new
  • Jenner could not prove WHY it worked
  • Doctors who were making money out of doing inoculations did not want to lose that income
  • Vaccination was seen as dangerous. Some patients died when careless doctors mixed up the vaccines and infected them with smallpox instead of cowpox. Other doctors used infected needles and killed their patiients that way.
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How important was his work?

  • Jenners vaccinination undoubtedly sdaved many lives and he is now significant for many other reasons as well. Jenner was the first immuniser. He made deliberate use of the knowledge that recovering form a mild form of a disease gives human beings immunity against a more severe form. This was the basis of the science immunology which was to be persued with such sucess by pasteurand others half a century later.
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Florence Nightingale


  • Florence Nightingale was born in 1820. Her family was wealthy. They opposed her being a nurse.
  • She tranformed Crimean war hospitals and trained nurses.
  • She gained an Order of merit for her work
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WW1 1

What medical progress did WW1 bring about?

  • Millions were wounded giving surgeons the oppertunity to expirement with new techniques
  • Broken bones were common place. Surgeons developed new techniques to repair broken bones and form skin grafts which formed the basis for plastic surgery.
  • Many of the surgons who learned their skills quickly in battlefeild hospitals set up as specialist surgeons after the war.
  • Bullet wounds carried infection deep into the body. Surgons had to seach for better ways to prevent infections. They never fully suceeded, but it did get people thinking.
  • X-rays were invented before the war. During the war their use became rountine to find bullets loodged in the body.
  • Blood transfusion was used effectively for the first time. Methods of storing blood and transporting it to where it was needed were improved.
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WW1 2

  • The low standard of health amound recruits to the army made the government very worried about the health of the population generally. It made them more eager to improve health care at home.
  • Soldiers who fought in the war were promised homes for heroes . This speeded up the process of getting rid of slum housing in britain.
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WW2 and the NHS

  • Blood Transfusion - further improved during the second world war. Blood could be stored for longer
  • Diet-rationing improved some peoples diet
  • Drugs- penicillin was developed-the first antibiotic
  • Poverty- evacuation highlighted the differences between rich and poor and meant the government was more commited the fight poverty after the war
  • Surgery- advances were made- skin grafts ect
  • Hygiene-government posters educated people about basic health and hygiene
  • disease- the government launched it national diphthrea immunisation campaign
  • The NHS With the threat of bombing meant the government improved health care. In 1942 William beveridge a leading civil servant proposed that these cahnges should be preserved in a free national health servise for all.
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