History of Medicine - Importance of Individuals

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Vesalius

Importance of Vesalius:

  • Moved people on from studying Galen.
  • Brought about change in medical thinking.
  • Helped establish surgery as a separate profession.
  • Taught at Padua.
  • Made dissection of humans more acceptable.
  • Improved anatomical drawings and reference books.

Opposition/Limitations:

  • Was not able to prove himself that the heart was a pump.
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Harvey

Importance:

  • He marked the end of Galen's influence on anatomy.
  • Worked on the idea that blood circulated around the body.
  • Reduced the power of Church through dissection.
  • Made little difference at the time - blood letting remained popular.
  • Encouraged others to investigate circulation.
  • Essential to the understanding of the body.

Opposition/Limitations:

  • Considered eccentric.
  • Only until better quality microscopes were discovered that people accepted (after his death).
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Jenner

Importance:

  • First person ever to immunise disease.
  • Affected Pasteur and Koch 100yrs later.
  • Saved lives from smallpox (biggest killer 15%)

Opposition/Limitations:

  • People thought it was going against religion.
  • He was not able to explain why or apply it to other diseases.
  • Many doctors were against his ideas.
  • Did not eradicate disease.
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Pasteur

Importance:

  • He scientifically proved how disease was caused.
  • He was finally able to explain how Jenner's vaccines worked.
  • Led to improved public health.
  • He proved religion wrong.
  • Led to vaccinations being found.
  • Magic Bullets led on from Germ Theory.

Opposition/Limitations:

  • As he was a scientist rather than a doctor he was not able to turn his results into treatment until Koch developed it further.
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Koch

Importance:

  • He proved germs were the cause of disease (built on Pasteur's work).
  • Found the specific bacterium that caused disease.
  • Discovered vaccine for Anthrax and Cholera.
  • He finally laid rest to miasma theory.
  • Koch developed the right methods to discover.
  • "As soon as the right methods were found, discoveries came as easily as ripe apples from a tree".

Opposition/Limitations:

  • Believed in miasma for the majority of his work.
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(Elizabeth) Garrett Anderson

Importance:

  • First woman doctor to become a qualified physician.
  • Paved the way for other women.
  • Started St. Mary's Dispensary School for Women.
  • First and only woman member of British Medical Council.

Opposition/Limitations:

  • Still some gender prejudice.
  • Did not actually move medicine forward.
  • Saved no lives.
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Nightingale

Importance:

  • Revolutionised the profession of nursing.
  • She trained and educated women.
  • Improved the conditions in hospitals during the Crimean War.
  • Reduced deaths by infection.

Opposition/Limitations:

  • Before Pasteur so could not explain.
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Crick and Watson

Importance:

  • Discovered double helix structure of DNA
  • Scientists could prove how DNA replicates itself so consistently.
  • Led to advances in genetic understanding (Human Genome mapped in 2000)
  • Technology and nanoscience improved.

Opposition/Limitations:

  • Lots of ethical issues surrounding.
  • Has not affected many cures (only understanding).
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Fleming

Importance:

  • Relevant cure - WW1
  • Worked effectively.

Opposition/Limitations:

  • Technology wasn't advanced enough at the time to separate penicillin from the mould.
  • Florey and Chain completed his work ten years later.
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