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Florence Nightingale

  • Born in Florence, Italy in 1820 to a very wealthy family. 
  • Was well educated and wanted to become a nurse.
  • 1851 Florence visited Germany to work in a hospital for 3 months.
  • 21st October 1854 Florence lead a group of trained nurses into Crimea to treat wounded soldiers.
  • 1855 Nightingale fund set up for training of nurses.
  • 1859 Nightingale training school for nurses was set up.
  • 1865 First nurses started working in hospitals.
  • 1860 Florence published 'notes for nursing.'
  • Florence received several honours from Queen Victoria.
  • Died in  1910
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His books: The Hippocratic collection contained books which were used for centuries by doctors. Hippocrates may not have written all these books.

4 Humours: Hippocrates believed the body was made up of 4 humours; blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile.

Hippocratic oath: The oath is still used today. It makes clear that doctors are not magicians. They have to keep high standards of treatment, behaviour and work for the benefit of the patients rather than to make themselves rich.

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  • Galen was born in 129 AD in Greece.
  • He began studying medicine at the age of 16 and spent 12 years travelling to improve his knowledge, including a visit to the famous medical school at Alexandria in Egypt.
  • Galen gained practical experience as a surgeon at a gladiators school. Galen emphasised the importance of Hippocrates methods.
  • Like Hippocrates, he believed in the 4 humours and that treatment should restore the balance of the humours.
  • Galen believed in using opposites to balance the humours.
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Andreas Vesalius

  • Born in Brussels in 1514.
  • Studied medicine in Paris and Italy where he met artists who were studying skeletons and dissecting bodies to make their paintings more realistic.
  • Became Professor of Surgery at Padua in Italy.
  • Wrote The Fabric of the Human Body (published 1543) with detailed illustrations of the human anatomy.
  • Died in 1564.

Specialism: anatomy

Importance before Vesalius: Doctors believed that the books of Galen and other ancient doctors were completely accurate and contained all the knowledge they needed. Therefore, there was no need to learn more about anatomy by dissecting human bodies.

After Vesalius: Vesalius showed that Galen was wrong in some important details of anatomy. He believed that this was because Galen had to rely on dissecting animals. He said it was vital that doctors dissect human bodies to find out about the human structure and exactly how it works. He said doctors needed to test Galen's ideas instead of accepting them uncritically.

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Ambroise Pare

  • Born in France in 1510. He was apprenticed to his brother, a barber surgeon and then became a surgeon in Paris at the Hotel Dieu.
  • In 1536 he became an army surgeon and spent twenty years on campaign, treating sword and gunshot wounds.
  • He wrote Works on surgery, published in 1575.
  • He died in 1590.

Specialism: Surgery

Importance before Pare: Wounds were treated by pouring boiling oil onto them. Doctors believed this would help them to heal. They stopped a wound bleeding by sealing it with a red hot iron. This was called Cauterising. 

After Pare: Pare discovered that wounds healed more quickly if boiling oil was not used. Instead he put simple bandages onto wounds. He also stopped cauterising wounds. Instead he tied the ends of arteries using silk thread. 

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John Snow

  • Born in 1813
  • Was a British physician who was considered to be one of the fathers of epidemiology* because of his work in tracing a Cholera outbreak in Soho in 1854
  • Cholera is caused by a bacterium (Vibrio Cholerae)
  • Symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, low blood pressure and dehydration
  • Infected patients can die within 3 hours if left untreated
  • 1854 - Cholera outbreak in London with over 500 fatalities
  • By talking to local residents John Snow identified the source of the outbreak as the public water pump on Broad Street
  • Snow concluded that all the people infected with Cholera had drunk water collected from the Broad Street well
  • It was later discovered that a leaking cess pit containing sewage was only 3 ft away from the well and was contaminating the water
  • Snow's studies of the pattern of the disease were convincing enough to persuade the local council to disable the well pump by removing its handle
  • This caused the number of Cholera cases to decrease rapidly

*Epidemiology - Epidemiology is the study of how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why. 

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