Medicine + Surgery: Improvements in hospitals/Florence Nightingale

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Aseptic environment:

  • Robert Koch identified one germ for one disease
    • different germs, therefore led to the idea that all germs should be killed
  • surgeons began to introduce a sterile field
    • masks
    • hats
    • gowns
    • stainless steel tools
    • special rooms
    • washable floors and walls
    • all became normal practice in the C20th

Florence Nightingale:

  • is important for two main things:
    • improving hospitals
    • establishing nursing as a profession
  • Hospitals before Nightingale:
    • places for the poor
      • could not afford to be look after at home
    • three main types
      • Lying in hospitals (maternity)
      • Charity hospitals (eg. St Thomas, St James)
      • Workhouse infirmaries (basis of the NHS)
        • these were places where people went to die
        • beds were shared
        • hygiene was non-existent
        • separate wards for different categories did not exist
  • The importance of the Crimea War
    • broke out in 1854
    • involved the British Army
    • geographically north west of the Mediterranean/Black Sea area
    • army suffered huge losses
      • many soldiers dying from lack of medical care
    • Florence Nightingale went out with a group of nurses to help
      • Lady with the Lamp
  • Problems
    • shocking state of…

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