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Problems in Early 19th Century Surgery

  • Pain - no way to completely relieve pain, no pain killers, no effective anaesthetic: pain would cause patients to move and disturb the surgeon), no pain relief made speed the top priority which decreased safety and accuracy.
  • Infection - germs could enter the wound through blood poisoning, no sterile equipment meant that the surgeon's tools and clothing carried germs, ligatures used to stop blood loss could carry infection.
  • Blood Loss - no way to replace blood by transfusion, no knowledge of blood groups, blood loss could be stopped only by ligatures…


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