Key Individuals

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  • Created by: meg
  • Created on: 27-04-14 12:42


  • 384-322BC
  • Developed the Hippocratic balance of elements to suggest that the body was made up for four humours-Blood, Phlegm, Yellow Bile, Black Bile
  • They needed to be in balance for good health
  • He attempted to link them with the elements and seasons
  • But he failed to see how these humours are symptoms/effects of disease
  • Although he thought they were the causes
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Avicenna (Ibn Sina)

  • 980-1037 AD
  • Wrote the "Canon of Medicine"
  • This book brings together the ideas of Aristotle, Galen and Hippocrates
  • Had an interest in Greek Philosophers
  • Did not believe in personal immortality, or that God was interested in individuals
  • He did not believe the world creation story either which goes against the othodox Islamic tradition
  • Althoughh he was still one of Islam's most influential philosophers
  • His book was translated from Arabic into Latin in Spain and Italy
  • His ideas were rejected by many including Paracelsus
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Christiaan Barnard

  • 1922-2001
  • He performed the second kidney transplant
  • Experimented for several years with animal heart transplants 
  • Carried out the first successful heart transplant on 3rd December 1967
  • The patient was already suffering with diabetes and heart disease
  • The operation lasted nine hours and used a team of thirty people
  • The patient only survived for 18 days-he died of pneumonia
  • The poor life expectancy of patienets led to a temporary stop of heart transplants
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Joseph Bazalgette

  • 1819-1891
  • Chief engineer of the Metropolitan Board of Works responsible for public works in London
  • In 1859 he was appointed to build a massive sewer system for London
  • The sewers collected waste being dumped in the Thames and transported it away from heavily populated areas
  • It was opened i n 1865 by the Prince of Wales
  • Approximately 1300 miles of sewers were constructed
  • They helped to stop cholera outbreaks in London by removing the contamination
  • He was knighted for his work on the London sewers
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(Antoine) Henri Becquerel

  • 1852-1908
  • Helped to discover the first radioactive isotopes used:
  • to treat cancers as part of radiotherapy
  • in immunosuppression
  • as traces in diagnosis-mildly radioactive material is swallowed/injected and medics can detect its movement around the body
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Aneurin Bevan

  • 1897-1960
  • Labour Minister for Health
  • Introduced the National Health Service
  • This would provide medical care free in need to all Britains
  • He resigned when the government transfered funds for the National Insurance fund to pay for rearmament
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Sir William Beveridge

  • 1879-1963
  • Economist and social reformer working for the Board of Trade
  • Worked with Winston Churchill to create a minimum wage for workers
  • Also helped to pass the Labour Exchanges Act
  • Published a hugely influencial reprt in 1942
  • In it he argued that all people should have the right to be free from want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness
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Elizabeth Blackwell

  • 1821-1910
  • Gained a medical degree in America
  • First woman to graduate in the US
  • Set up the New York Infirmary for Poor Women
  • Helped establish the US Sanitary Comission
  • Set up a private practice in London and was a lecturer at the London School of Medicine for Women
  • She was finally accepted onto the Medical Register in England after her work

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Charles Booth

  • 1840-1916
  • Investigated the poverty in London
  • Published the first edition of "Life and Labour of the People" in 1889
  • Showed that 30% of those in London were living in severe poverty and it was sometimes impossible to find work
  • Also showed that wages for some jobs were too low to be able to support a family
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Edwin Chadwick

  • 1800-1890
  • Poblished a "Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain"
  • His idea was that improved public health and a healthy workforce would save money 
  • The report and statistics descrbing levels of sickness and mortality shocked many of the privileged
  • The government then introduced a Public Health Bill
  • This was only passed when a new cholera epidemic broke out
  • It became the first Public Health Act in 1848
  • This caused the setting up of the Central and Local Health Boards
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Joseph Chamberlain

  • 1836-1914
  • Became Mayor of Birmingham
  • Oversaw a series of reforms to transform the city
  • Persuaded the city authoritites to buy the local gas and water companies so they could make sure the inhabitants had a good supply of both
  • Founded a Drainage Board and introduced new drainage systems
  • Used the Artisans Act to clear a large area of the city's slums
  • He wanted to build a new street their for shops/offices so raised funds as well as contributing £10,000 for the scheme
  • Many inhabitants of the slums had to relocate and all houses were either destroyed or improved
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Francis Crick and James Watson

  • 1916-2004, 1928-present
  • They were the first to describe the structure of DNA
  • Relied heavily on the work of previous scientists
  • Published the news of their discovery
  • Shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1962 as well as recieving numerous other awards and prizes for their work
  • They later played an important part in the research of the Human Genome Project
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Marie Curie

  • 1867-1934
  • Investigated radioactivity and built on the work of Becquerel
  • Her research was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery
  • Set up mobile x-ray units called "Little Curies"
  • They were positioned near the front line to help treat soldiers
  • They were used to find broken bones as well as bullets and shrapnel in a soldier's body
  • Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903
  • Revieved a second Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911

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Pedanius Dioscorides

  • c.40-90 AD
  • Greek doctor born in Turkey
  • Worked for the Roman army in the 1st century AD
  • Wrote a book "De Materia Medica"
  • Was the first book on using plants as medicines without lots of superstitions
  • Very influencial book and became the starting point for many individuals' work 
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Benjamin Disraeli

  • 1804-1881
  • Prime Minister of the UK, brought in Public Health Act in 1875 and Artisans' Dwellings Act which forced local counsils to act upon it
  • Towns had Health Inspectors and Sanitary Inspectors making sure the laws on water supplies, hygiene and food standards were being followed
  • He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer so had to pass the 1867 Reform Act
  • This put pressure on the government and councils to listen to concerns of health as it allowed working class men to vote
  • Introduced the 1875 Sale of Food and Drugs Act which prevented the sale of certain drugs and any harmful food
  • In 1876 he passed the River Pollution Act preventing people from dumping sewage/industrial waste into rivers
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Gerhard Domagk

  • 1895-1964
  • Found that red dye, prontosil, stopped the streptococcus microbe(which causes blood poisoning)  from multiplying in mice without being poisonous
  • His daughter pricked herself on a needle and caught the disease
  • He gaver her a large dose of prontosil which turned her bright red although she recovered
  • The active ingerdient was identified as a sulphonamide, many drugs are based on this
  • More dangerous side effects of liver and kidney damge were discovered later
  • His work eventually led to a development of the drug to avoid the tuberculosis epidemic later on

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Paul Ehrlich

  • 1854-1915
  • Set out to find chemicals that could act as synthetic antibodies
  • Discovered dyes that could kill malaria and sleeping sickness germs
  • Identified the bacterium that causes syphilis
  • Him and his team decided to search for an arsenic compounf that was a magic bullet for syphilis
  • Over 600 compounds were tried and none appeared to be successful
  • Rechecked the results and found that number 606 worked
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  • 304-250 BC
  • Was a Greek anatomist and royal physician
  • Identified the differences between arteries, veins and nerves
  • Saw that nerves were not hollow and so could not be vessels for fluid
  • Wrote many works on anatomy, practical medicine and pharmacy
  • Realised that some things in humans were useless to animals

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Alexander Fleming

  • 1881-1955
  • Saw that many soldiers died of septic woulds caused by bacteria
  • Worked for an army hospital during WWI
  • He identified the antiseptic substance in tears which worked on some germs
  • One day he came to clean up old culture dishes and a fungal spore had grown on one
  • The colonies of bacteria in the dish around the mould had stopped growing
  • The fungus produced a substance that killed bacteria, it was named penicillin
  • Awarded a Nobel Prize in 1945
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Howard Florey and Ernst Chain

  • 1898-1968, 1906-1979
  • Devised the freeze-drying technique which was an important part in the purification process
  • At first they didn't have the resources to produce penicillin in large amounts
  • Made it for their first clinical trial by growing it in every container they could find
  • The patient recovered only dying when the penicillin ran out
  • They knew that penicillin could be vital in treating wounds recieved by soldiers in WWII
  • Chemical firms in Britain were too busy making explosives to mass produce it
  • So went to American Firms which helped when they joined the war
  • A few years later mass production was sufficient for the needs of military medicine
  • They were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945
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Claudius Galen

  • 129-199 AD
  • Greek doctor, began training at an Asclepion
  • Removed an infected breastbone from a patient
  • Supported the theories of Hippocrates-four humours and the treatement by opposites
  • Dissected animals decsibing the role of the spine in controlling the rest of the body
  • Couldn't dissect humans or study skeletons outside of Alexandria
  • Decieved by only using animals:thought a network of blood vessles in animals were in humans too, described the liver as the wrong shape
  • Only recorded his successful cases
  • Wrote over 100 medical texts, many were copied and survived
  • Had great influence on doctors of the Arabic World
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Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

  • 1836-1917
  • Trained privately before being accepted as a qualified doctor in 1865
  • Emplyed a tutor to study anatomy and physiology
  • Eventually she was allowed into the dissecting room and chemistry lectures
  • Awarded a medical degree in 1870
  • Society of Apothecaries immediatley changed its regulations preventing other women doing the same

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Johann Gutenberg

  • 1385-1468
  • Introduced printing 
  • His invention accelerated the rate of progress in medicine and everything else
  • It became easier for ideas to spread and be debated widely
  • Making a single copy of a book could take months-years therefore books remained rare
  • New ideas would have to be thouroughly accepted before copying
  • More complete copied of Galen's works were produced and translated
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William Halsted

  • 1852-1922
  • Contributed to the surgical treatment of breast caner
  • Changed the training of surgeons from disorganised apprenticeships to the programmes used today
  • Performed the first emergency blood transfusion
  • Invented surgical gloves to prevent infection
  • Investigated the use of cocaine as an anaethetic
  • However, his self-experimentation led to a severe addiction

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William Harvey

  • 1578-1657
  • Studied medicine and anatomy at Padua before working as a lecturer and doctor in London
  • He then became a Royal Physician
  • Did comparative studies on animals and humans
  • Realised that he could observe living animals hearts in action and his findings would apply to humans
  • Harvey realised Galen was wrong of thinking that blood was formed, carried to tissues and consumed and that actually it was being pumped out of the heart and circulated
  • Identified the difference between arteries and veins, building on Erasistratus's discoveries
  • Notices that the blood changed colour when being passed through the lungs
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Octavia Hill

  • 1838-1912
  • Concerned with the terrible condirions which people were living in 
  • She developed a model housing scheme
  • She was determined that people should have access to green spaces for their health and well-being
  • Campaigned to save open spaces from being built on
  • Ended up co-founding the National Trust in 1895
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  • c.460-c.377 BC, born in Kos
  • Founding father of modern medicine
  • Influenced by early thinkers-especially Pythagoras
  • Associated with the Hippocratic Oath: promise made by doctors to obey rules of behavioiur
  • And the Hippocratic Corpus: collection of medical books written by Hippocrates of his followers
  • He saw the healthy body as being in balance, thought illness was an imbalance of elements
  • Looked for environmental causes for deisease rather than gods or spirits
  • Improved on the Egyptian ideas of diagnosis, by studying enough cases a doctor could learnt to predict the course of an illness
  • They encouraged the use of the clinical method of observation: Diagnosis, Prognosis, Observation, Treatment
  • Suggested that no action should be taken until a reliable diagnosis is made
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Ibn al-Nafis and Rhazes

Ibn al-Nafis

  • 1213-1288
  • Correctly suggested that the blood flowed from one side of the heart to the other through the lungs 
  • This was different to Galen's idea that it passed through the septum


  • 865-925 AD
  • Distinguished smallpox and measles as separate diseases
  • Brought together ideas of Aristotle, Galen and Hippocrates
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Edward Jenner

  • 1749-1823
  • Doctor in Gloucestershire
  • Discovered that milkmaids didn't get smallpox but caught a milder disease, cowpox
  • Tested this discovery on a small boy called James Phipps
  • He injected him with pus from the sores of a milkmaid with cowpox
  • The boy caught cowpox and recovered
  • After this Jenner injected him with smallpox
  • James didn't catch the disease as he became immune
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Robert Koch

  • 1843-1910
  • Began to try and link diseases to the microbe which causes them
  • Developed a solid medium to grow cultures and dyeing techniques to colour microbes
  • Used his daughter's pet mice to experiment with
  • Identified anthrax spores and later, the bacteria that causes septicaemia, tuberculosis and cholera
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Joseph Lister

  • 1857-1912
  • He had seen carbolic acid sprays used in sewage works to keep down the bad smells
  • Heard about the germ theory so realised germs could be in the air, on surgical instruments and people's hands
  • He started using carbolic acid on instruments and bandages
  • Carbolic acid is unpleasant to get on skin or breathe in so many didn't like to use it
  • The use of antiseptic conditions reduced death rates from about 50% to 15%
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David Lloyd George

  • 1863-1945
  • Appointed as president of the Board of Trade
  • Named Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government
  • Influenced by Rowntree's report
  • Lloyd George and Churchill worked hard to help the poor and were keen to make a name for themselves
  • He overcame opposition to introduce these reforms still in place today:
  • 1906-Free school meals
  • 1907-School medical inspections
  • 1908-Old Age Pension Act
  • 1909-Labour Exchanges
  • 1911-National Insurance Act
  • He had to raise taxes to pay for these reforms

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Archibald McIndoe and Harold Gillies

Harold Gillies

  • 1882-1960
  • Worked on skin graft techniques
  • Was able to set up a plastic surgery unit for the British Army during war
  • Reconstructed facial injuries so patients could have normal appearances
  • Developed the use of pedicle tubes, kept detailed drawings and records of his achievements

Archilbald McIndoe

  • 1900-1960
  • Assistant of Harold Gillies, but still most famous plastic surgeon
  • Took advantage of new developments in anitbacterial drugs and surgical techniques
  • Worked hard to help patients through the psychological effects of their injuries
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Lady Montagu

  • 1689-1762
  • Leant about inoculation and introduced it to Britain at the time of smallpox outbreaks
  • Discovered that a healthy person could be immunised agains it using pus form the sores of someone suffering with a mild form of the disease
  • Used a thread soaked in pus whichw as drawn through a small cut, after a mild reaction they were immune
  • However, sometimes it led the full-blown disease and death
  • The fear of smallpox however led them to take the risk of inoculation
  • Many doctors became rich by doing inoculations 
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William Morton and Ignaz Semmelweis

William Morton

  • 1819-1868
  • Carried out the first public demonstration of ether as an anaesthetic
  • Using it was risky as it is an irritant and fairly explosive

Ignaz Semmelweis

  • 1818-1865
  • Used chloride of lime solution as a hand wash for doctors to control the spread of puerperal fever, an infection suffered following childbirth
  • It wasn't used widely as it was unpleasant to use
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Florence Nightingale

  • 1820-1910
  • Brought discipline and professionalism to nursing
  • The Secretary of War requested that she went to Scutari to sort out nursing care in the hospital in the Crimean War
  • She went with 38 hand-picked nurses
  • Before arriving the death rate was 42%
  • Two years later it fell to 2%
  • This was down to the huge improvement she made to ward hygiene
  • Wrote "Notes on Nursing" book explaining her methods
  • Set up the Nightingale School of Nursing
  • 1919 Registration of Nurses Act made training compulsory for nurses
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  • 1493-1541
  • Criticized many accepted views
  • Began his lecturing carrer by burning one of Galen's books and calling him a liar
  • As well as this he owuld call Avicenna a kitchen master
  • He rejected the idea of the four humours
  • Gave his lectures in German instead of Latin
  • Opened his lectures up to anyone who wanted to attend
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Ambroise Paré

  • 1510-1590
  • Barber-surgeon
  • Worked for a public hospital before becoming an army surgeon
  • Severed blood vessels left by amputation were sealed using cauterisation
  • This caused extreme discomfort
  • Paré invented the method of ligatures and designed quite sophisticated artificial legs
  • Gunshot wounds caused infections as the bullet carries cloth and skin into the wound
  • However they though they were poisonous so often poured boiling oil onto the wound
  • During a battle he ran out of oil so used a cool salve made of: oil of roses, turpentine and egg yolk which worked a lot better
  • He became surgeon to the King of France 
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Louis Pasteur

  • 1822-1895
  • Employed to find the explanation for the souring of sugar beet used in fermenting alcohol
  • He blamed germs in the air
  • Proved this by sterilising water and keeping it in a flask which stayed sterile
  • But sterilised water kept in an open flask bred micro-organisms
  • Also looked for cures to anthrax and chicken cholera
  • His team managed to produce a weakened version of the anthrax spore making sheep immune
  • Demonstrated this in a public experiment
  • Pasteur also took Emile Roux's idea  of dried rabbit spines for rabies and created a series on inoculations to lead to immunity
  • Tested this out on a woman's son who was bitten by a rabid dog and would die if nothing was done, his new treatment was successful
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Pythagoras, Thales of Miletus and Anaximander


  • c.580-c.500 BC
  • Thought life was about the balance of opposites

Thales of Miletus

  • c.580 BC
  • Founder of Greek philosophy, thought water was the basis of life


  • c.560 BC
  • Said all things were made of four elements: earth, air, water and fire
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Seebohm Rowntree

  • 1871-1954
  • Had a factory in York
  • Didn't believe the problem was as bas there as in London
  • He did a survey of living conditions
  • Published a report of his findings called "Poverty, a Study of Town Life"
  • This showed that 25% of people in York were so poor they couldn't afford basic food and housing
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Mary Seacole

  • 1805-1881
  • Learnt nursing from her mother
  • She came to England to volunteer as a nurse in the Crimean War
  • She was rejected but went anyway paying for her own passage
  • She financed herself by selling goods
  • She nursed the soldiers on the battlefields and built the British Hotel-a small group of makeshift buildings including a hospital for soldiers
  • She couldn't find work as a nurse after and went bankrupt-although she did recieve support due to press interest in her story
  • She wrote and autobiography 
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James Simpson

  • 1811-1870
  • Experimented on himself to find an alternative anaesthetic to ether
  • He discovered the effects of chloroform during an experiment with friends
  • He help sniffing parties in his dining room to try new chemicals
  • When they tried chloroform they firslty sound that they had a better mood before collapsing only to regain consciousness the next morning
  • However it was only by chance that he survived as if he had had a little more he would have over-dosed 
  • This would then have made it seem dangerous, or if he had not had enough then it would be seen as useless
  • It was widely used in operating theatres and to reduce pain during childbirth
  • However sometimes it affected the heart causing patients to die suddenly

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John Snow

  • 1813-1858
  • He discovered the connection between contaminated water and cholera
  • Studied the occurrence of a cholera outbreak in London and noticed that the victims all used the same water pump
  • He then removed the handle from the pump and ended the outbreak
  • Thought that diseases were caused by bad air or pollution
  • This was before the germ theory which backed it up
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Andreas Vesalius

  • 1514-1564
  • Studied anatomy in Paris
  • Was allowed to perform dissections but not to boil up bodies to get skeletons
  • He became a profeddor of surgery and anatomy
  • Did his own dissections rather than employing a menial demonstrator 
  • Wrote books based on his observations using accurate diagrams to illustrate his work
  • His illustrations were carefully annotated so he could refer to specific parts of the text
  • His work pointed out some of Galen's mistakes-the same as Ibn al-Nafis did but 300 years later
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Imhotep, Sekhmet, Thoth


  • 2650-2600 BC
  • Pharoah Zoser's doctor
  • Adopted as a god of healing 
  • Author of medical works without any magical thinking
  • His works described many injuries in detail


  • Goddess of War
  • Could supposedly send and cure epidemics


  • God who gave doctors their ability to cure people
  • Wrote "Book of Thoth", they included accepted treatments and spells

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Humphry Davy and Horace Wells

Humphry Davy

  • 1728-1828
  • Identified nitrous oxide as a possible anaethetic
  • But he was ignored by surgeons

Horace Wells

  • 1815-1848
  • Suggested that it be used in dentistry
  • He did a public demonstration but unluckily picked a patient unaffected by nitrous oxide
  • So it was ignored again until much later on
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Karl Landsteiner

  • 1868-1943
  • Discovered blood groups 
  • Showed the importance of compatibility of blood types
  • Found that certain groups of blood couldn't be mixed together as they clogged the blood vessels
  • This led to doctors noticing that blood also clotted if stored outside the body
  • At this time many soldiers were dying of blood loss so being able to store it was very important
  • They then discovered the use of sodium citrate to prevent this
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Harvey Cushing, Luis Agote and Albert Hustin

Harvey Cushing

  • American surgeon who specialised in brain surgery
  • Went to France during WWI to treat wounded soldiers
  • Developed methods of using x-rays to find shrapnel fragments in soldierss' brain and magnets to remove them
  • His techniques halved the number of deaths casued by intracranial surgery during the war
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Harvey Cushing, Luis Agote and Albert Hustin

Harvey Cushing

  • 1869-1939
  • American surgeon who specialised in brain surgery
  • Went to France during WWI to treat wounded soldiers
  • Developed methods of using x-rays to find shrapnel fragments in soldierss' brain and magnets to remove them
  • His techniques halved the number of deaths casued by intracranial surgery during the war

Agot and Hustin

  • 1868-1954, 1882-1967
  • Discovered that adding sodium citrate to blood prevented it from clotting
  • It was also found that blood could be kept for longer if it was added to a citrate glucose solution
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