EXPERIENCE EVERYDAY LIFE IN 19TH CENTURY FRESNO COUNTY - Medicine
Examine how the horrors of Civil War battlefields forced medicine in America to evolve from a crude practice to a profession grounded in science, medical innovations, like the triage system, and limb amputations. Learn how general hospitals saved thousands of lives, changed Americans' expectations regarding healthcare and laid the groundwork for later scientific discoveries of the 19th century.
Two major advances in medicine resulting from the Civil War were the acceptance of the germ theory of disease and the use of anesthesia during surgery. These two discoveries, in combination with continued research of the human body and the development of specialized tools, led to major transformations in our concepts of illness, methods of treatment and hygienic practices at the turn of the 20th century.
Medical practice during most of the 19th century was carried out in private homes or, occasionally, in a private doctor’s office. During the Industrial Revolution, hospitals in large cities had a reputation for being dirty. Many people contracted diseases from staying in the hospital because doctors did not know how diseases spread. Therefore, those that had the means, called a doctor to their homes. Doctors usually worked in a wide geographic area and were expected to treat everything from toothaches to stomach aches, fevers and sick livestock. As the century progressed, knowledge of specific parts of the body increased, specialized tools and procedures were developed and, gradually, doctors became specialized in broad areas of medicine.
Video Credit: PBS Learning Media