History: Medicine, important people

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Hippocrates (c.460-377 BC)

  • His ideas were followed by Galen
  • He had many of followers and had a numbr of medical books published around his work, these emphasised:
  • Natural explanations:
    • Hippocratic doctors looked for natural causes for disease rather than supernatural ones. They thought that bthe proportions of the four humours inside each human being affected a persons health. This theory, was a turning point because it sdaid that illness was caused by natural factors inside the patient.
  •  clinical observations:
    •  hippocatic doctors opbserved the whole patient, notiong all symptoms. Theyt carefully recorded everything that happened and wrote it down. Only then would they be able to diagnose the illness, describe what would and perhaps treat it. This is still the core of modern methods of medical treatment
  • code of behaviour: 
    • Doctors had to treat their patients with respect, not take advantage of them. To this day, doctors take the 'Hippoctratic oath' to behave properly.
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Galen (120 AD)

  • His medicine was based on the ideas of the Greeks and Romans
  • he carried on the work of Hippocrates by teaching that doctors should study the symptoms of a disease before they treated them.
  • He followed Hippocrates' observation methods and believed in the theory of the four humours. He developed many teatments, based on the theory of opposites.
  • Galen stressed the importance of understanding the skeleton and the functions of parts of the body.
  • He gained some knowledge of anatomy and physiology from treating wounded gladiators.
  • He discovered that the brain controls the body throught the nerves and proved his theory by dissecting a piggy.
  • He realised the need to carry out experiments, but human dissection was not acceptable. He had to base his ideas on the anatomy of animals but this often led to mistakes in his descriptions (E.G: about the jow bone and heart).
  • Galen was very important. He gave lectures and wrote over 60 books, drawing the together the ideas of all the great doctors of the ancient world in the 500 years since Hippocrates.
  • Galen talked about 'the creator' in his books. This made his work acceptable to both Cristian and Isamic cultures as it fitted in with their teachings.
  • His theories, even his mistakes, formed the basis of doctors' training during the middle ages and the Renaissance.
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Andreus Vesalius (1514-1564 ANATOMY)

  • Vesalius became professor of anatomy at Padua university in Italy, an important centre for medical training during the renaissance.
  • He said it was vital for doctors to dissect human boddies to find out about the human structuer and how it works.
  • He published his great book 'The fabric of the human body' in 1543 it showed it showed the human body in greater detail than ever before. He was able to include detailed anatomical drawings.
  • He was able to bprove that some of Galens theories were wrong E.G. the heart and the jaw.
  • Vesalius is important because:
    • He proved Galen had made mistakes; this ecouraged others to find out more.
    • He encouraged dissection and careful observation.
    • His work was accurate and printed, therefore available for training doctors.
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William Harvey (1578-1657 PHYSIOLOGY)

  • He studied in Italy at the university of Padua where he became interested in anatomy and in particular, the work of versailius.
  • He experimented and used scientific method, measuring the flow of blood through the heart, experimenting of humans and animals.
  • Harvey discovered that blood circulated around the body in a one-way system.
  • He proved that the heart was a pump that forced blood around the body through arteries. Veins then returned the blood to the heart where it was recycled.
  • In 1628, Harvey published details of his work in his book 'An anatomical exercise concerning the motion of the heart and blood in anaimals'.
  • Harvey is important because:
    • He proved Galens theory (that blood moved through the walls in the septum and that the body made new blood as its supplies were used up) which had been popular for 1400 years was wrong.
    • He showed the importance of scientific methods, test and proof.
    • He ecouraged others to investigate blood circulation.
  • However his ideas were considered ecentric and his work made little difference to general health.
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Ambroise Pare (1510 - 1590 SURGERY)

  • He trained as a barber-sugeon.
  • He developed his skills as a asurgeon whilst treating soldiers during wars. Usual treatment for gunshot wounds was to chop off damaged limbs and dip the stump in boiling oil. Small wounds were cauterised with a red hot iron.
  • In 1536 he ran out of oil and so he treated the gunshot wounds with simple dressings ( turpentine, oil of rose and egg yolk) and bandages rather than using boiling oil. This was a chance discovery.
  • He also beleived God had guided him to use ligatures to stop the bleeding ofter amputations rather than a red hot cautery iron.
  • The practice of using ligatures introduced germs from the surgeon's hands into the wound and thereby increased the chances of infection (until antiseptics).
  • He published his ideas in a book. The collected works of surgery, in 1575.
  • The paris college of physicians tried to stop the publication of his texts and never accpeted Pare becuasehe was only a barber-sugeon but pare had the support of the king.
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Lady Grace Mildmay and Dr Thomas Sydenham

  • Lady Grace Mildmay
  • She was married to a rich man and was excpected to look after the health of her family.
  • She learnt traditional methods using herbs but she also read the most recent medical books.
  • She used the theory of the four humours in the treatment of disease.
  • she is unusual becuase she was a well-informed woman healer and she left detailed records of her activities. She combined the understanding of traditional ' Wise Woman and the university trained doctors.


  • Dr Thomas Sydenham
  • He was the most important doctor in England in the 17th Century.
  • He didnt make any new discoveries about the cause of disease but did emphasise the importance of careful abservation and keeping accurate records.
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Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole (NURSING)

  • Florence Nightingale
  • In 1854 the Crimean War broke out. Florence worked as a nurse in the emergancy hospital at scutari.
  • Florence led a party of 38 nurses to clean up the hospital, she cleaned up the wards, toilets and kitchens. The death rate among soldiers fell.
  • She then spent 3 years advising government on changes to army hospitals.
  • Florence nightingale used her fame to help her change the face of nursing forever.
  • In her book ' Notes on nursing' she explained her methods. This became the standard ttextbook for future generations of nurses.
  • In 1860 she set up the Nightingale school of nursing in St Thomas' Hospital, London to train nurses.
  • Florence Nightingale brought a new snese of disciplin and professionalism to nursing.
  • Mary Seacole
  • She was a black west Indian, who faced racial prejudicew. She paid her own way to the Crimea where she worked near the battlerfield tending to the sick and wounded.
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Edward Jenner (VACCINATIONS)

  • he was a country doctor in Gloucestershire and a member of the royal scociety.
  • He was interested in the latest development in science and knew that experimenting was vital to making progress.
  • He had heard romours that dairy maids with cow pox didnt catch small pox and. He decided to test to see if one disease prevented another.
  • In 1796 jenner tested his theory by injecting James Phipps with cowpox and then later with small pox. James survived and Jenner tested his theory on others, all of whom survived.
  • Jenner named this this process vaccination and published his results in 1798.
  • He was apposed by many doctors becuase: he was an unknown counrty doctor and could not explain why his idea worked.
  • The general public was also worried, they did not understand the process and some of them were terrified of being injected with an animal disease.
  • Jenner himself did not fully understand how vaccinations worked, he just proved that they did.
  • Jenner is important because:
    • the government accepted his idea as they could see his success rate, they funded a vaccination clinic and later made vaccination compulsory.
    • His work laid the foundations for the future. He had begun to combat disease by immunisation.
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Edwin Chadwick (PUBLIC HEALTH)and James Simpson (A

  • Edwin Chadwick
  • He published a 'Report on the sanitary condition os the labouring population of Great Britain' in 1842. He gathered information on conditions in towns and recommended reform.
  • He believed that improved public health provision and a healthy workforce would save money rather than cost money.
  • The report, which described levels of sickness and mortality shcoked some of the privileged classes.
  • James Simpson
  • In 1847 james simpson discovered the benefits of chloroform as an anaesthetic.
  • His discovery meant that the surgeons now had more time to operate, which meant that they could do more complex operations. However the death rate actually increased as mistakes were made, and the risk of infection was still great.
  • Aneasthetics was strongly opposed by some doctors, nurses and the public.
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Joseph Lister (ANTISEPTICS)

  • In 1867 he began to use carbolic acid to kilol infections in wounds.
  • Sprays were used in operating theaters. These were quite unpopular with some as they were messy and involved extra work, they also made instruments slippery to handle. However as a result of his work death rates from infection began to drop rapidly.
  • Lister met oppostion to his ideas this was becuase:
    • it takes time for people to accept new ideas,
    • new ideas can mean more work,
    • new ideas can make those who did things the old way look foolish, incompetant or uncaring.
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Louis Pasteur (GERM THEORY)

  • Micro-organisms had been seen through microscopes but scientists thought that they were caused by disease and appeared because of illness. This was the theory known as spontaneous gerneration.
  • In 1861 Pasteur published his 'Germ Theory' which stated that living organisms fall from the air and cause decay.
  • In 1864 Pateur devised a series of experiments to prove his Germ Theory. He proved that the air conatins micro-organsims, that microbes are not evenly distributed in the air, that microbes in the air cause decay and that microbes can be killed by heat.
  • He showed the importance of testing ideas ideas in a scientific way. A German , Robert Koch built on his work.
  • Hearing of koch's work pasteur came out of retirement and from 1887-1891 he began to work on vaccines.
  • He discovered a vaccine for chicken cholera and anthrax in animals and a vaccine against rabbies that also worked on humans.
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Robert Koch

  • Koch was a German scientist, influenced by pastuer's work. In 1872 he began research into the micro-organisms affecting animals and people.
  • He showed that pus from patients' wounds were caused by germs on the surgeons hands. This paved the way for aseptic surgery. The whole operating theatre, equipment and clothes were germ free before the operations started.
  • His careful research and observation using the microscope, photography and dyes led to a breakthrough in the fight against two of the deadliest diseases of the late 19th century. In 1882 he identified the bacteria causing tuberculosis (TB). A year later, in 1883, he identified the bacteria causing cholera.
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Alexandre Fleming and sir william Beveridge

  • Alexandre Fleming
  • In 1928 Fleming discovered a mould called penicillium that killed several different bacteria.
  • Fleming realised that this mould could kill germs but he did not have the skill in chemistry to purify the mould.
  • He wrote a paper on his findings.
  • Between 1939 and 1945 Florey and Chain developed Fleming's work and producing pure penicillin and getting it mass produced.
  • Sir William Beveridge
  • He was a leading civil servant.
  • In 1942 he published a report in which he stated that the government should create a 'Welfare State', taking charge of social security 'from the cradle to the grave'. He argued that all the citizens had the right to be free from hunger, disease, ignorance, squaler and idlenes. The report was a best seller and influenced the creation of the NHS in 1948.
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Paul Ehrlich and Anuerin Bevan

  • Paul Ehrlich
  • In 1899, Ehrich became interested in antibodies. These were produced naturally by the body to fight specific germs, without harming the rest of the body.
  • He called these antibodies 'magic bullets', but he discovered they didnt always work.
  • He and His team looked for synthetic chemical 'magic bullets' to cure disease.
  • At first his success was limited, however he later developed slavarson 606.
  • Ehrich faced a lot of opposition and it was 20 years before a second 'magic bullet' was found.
  • However other hi tech drugs did follow.
  • Anuerin Bevan
  • Minister of health who introduced the National Health Service.
  • He was very influential in convincing doctors that the creation of the NHS was a positive step, brokering an agreement with the British Medical Association that led to 90% of doctors getting involved in the NHS when it was introduced.
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A lot of spelling errors however, very useful

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