Amputation and Surgery in the 19th Century

Amputation and Surgery in the 19th Century

Length: 519 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Amputation and Surgery in the 19th Century

Surgery and Amputation
During this period a deep cut could lead to infection, and the only treatment for infections was amputation and cauterization. However, hospitals and medical instruments were hardly if ever sanitized, so one could often come out of the hospital worse than when one went in (Bloodwiki). It was not uncommon for a person to survive a surgery only to be set upon by diseases such as hospital gangrene and septicaemia (Youngson 29). Youngson describes hospitals as “dark and overcrowded, ill-run and insanitary. It was not uncommon to see in the same ward, at the same time, cases of, (let us say) typhoid fever, erysipelas, pneumonia, rickets, dysentery; nor was it uncommon to see two patients in the same bed” (Youngson 24). Anesthesia was not used in surgeries until 1846, so prior to that the patient was completely conscious when they operated on him or her, unless the patient passed out from pain. Patients were uneager to be cut into while they were awake: “Dragged unwillingly or carried from the ward to the operating theatre by a couple of hospital attendants (in Edinburgh a large wicker basker was used for this purpose) the patient was laid on the operating table and if necessary strapped down” (Youngson 27). The tools used in surgeries can be seen here.

Anesthetics
Anesthetics were not used in surgery until October 16, 1846, in Massachusetts General Hospital (Youngson 51). The anesthesia was a inhaled gas known as ether. In 1847 a doctor by the name of James Simpson popularized chloroform as an alternative to ether. According to Simpson chloroform could do more with less, act faster and last longer than ether, is more pleasing to the senses than ether, and is cheaper (qtd. in Youngson 70). Chloroform also did not need an inhaling device like ether did; it could be placed on a piece of cloth and work just as well (Youngson 70).

Antiseptics
One of the leading surgeons of the time was also the first surgeon to use antiseptics in surgery. Joseph Lister believed that infections were a result of bacteria. He used various methods to fight the bacteria, constantly changing his methods over the years. He even went so far as to use vaporizing sprays in the surgery areas (Connor). His original method, developed in March of 1847, to keep a wound sterilized was to “[use] [carbolic acid] to clean a wound, and then [apply] a piece of lint, soaked in the acid, as a dressing, covered by a slightly larger piece of thin tin or sheet lead in order to prevent evaporation of the acid.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Amputation and Surgery in the 19th Century." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Jan 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=154414>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Social Norms Of The 19th Century Essay

- For a young women, the idea of motherhood means taking on the ultimate responsibility of caring for a defenseless child in spite of the youth and inexperience. To complicate matters, include the social norms of the 19th century that young women should not have children out of wedlock and a lack of personal independence since most young women do not have livable income and a space to call her own. These norms are enforced upon young women so much that typically their only hope of survival is with the help of a patriarchal figure....   [tags: Sociology, Marriage, Love, 19th century]

Research Papers
1603 words (4.6 pages)

American Capitalist Society In The 19th Century Essay

- Herman Melville’s Utilization of Bartleby the Scrivener: the Story of Wall Street As a Means of Criticizing Capitalism and Its Crimes Against Humanity Herman Melville's "Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" scrutinizes the alienation of labor, the social ideologies and the dehumanizing consequences of the American capitalist society in the 19th century. Bartleby is the main character in the story. The other characters in the story, Ginger Nut, Nippers and Turkey, barely survive their pragmatic enslavement because they have been brainwashed by the ideology of complying and acknowledging their given place in society....   [tags: 19th Century America]

Research Papers
1834 words (5.2 pages)

Essay about Women During The 19th Century

- Traditionally, women during the 19th century were expected to submit to the patriarch of the house and obediently follow his commands and the commands of society. According to Elaine Fortin, writer of “Early Nineteenth Century Attitudes Toward Women,” society’s expectations of married women included catering to their husbands by caring for the children, performing household chores, and preparing all meals so their husbands could focus all of their attention “on the matters of the world.” To broaden this definition of a wife’s duties during the 19th century, Judy Brady, an activist for women’s rights and renowned author, said women had to satisfy their husbands sexually but refrained from sol...   [tags: Gender, Feminism, Jimmy Carter, 19th century]

Research Papers
1263 words (3.6 pages)

The Spanish And Italian Literatures Of The 19th Century Essay

- My research explores political essay in the Spanish and Italian literatures of the second half of the nineteenth century. In particular, I analyze the perception of a “national/supranational conscience” to prove how European liberal thinkers in nineteenth century attempt to build and establish a supranational entity. As “supranational” I intend a shift in international politics - constituted by the agreement among sovereign states - to create common structures of power and identity (Neyer 2012)....   [tags: Europe, European Union, 19th century, Spain]

Research Papers
1002 words (2.9 pages)

High Death Rate in Nineteenth Century Operations Essay

- High Death Rate in Nineteenth Century Operations In the early 19th century the amount of operations carried out each week was a very small amount when compared to today’s figures. There were many reasons for this, but one was the patients attitudes towards allowing themselves have an operation. It was well known at this time the conditions of hospitals. They were very unsanitary and the majority of people did not come out alive. Before 1847, patients that underwent an operation in hospital did so as a last resort....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
933 words (2.7 pages)

A Male Dominated Society During the 19th Century Essay

- During the 19th century, women were controlled by a male dominated society. The women were in pure agony knowing that there was no faith for them to have a crucial change in civilization. This could often lead to “clinical depression” in which a human could feel lonely, empty, confounded and miserable. In this time period, women’s role in society was to be simply mothers and wives. A world where women had rights, control, and power was a fantasy. According to Hall, he states, “Key to all feminist methodologies is the belief that patriarchal oppression of women through history has been profound and multifaceted” (Hall 202)....   [tags: women's role, 19th century, the awakening]

Research Papers
963 words (2.8 pages)

The Oppression of Women in the 19th Century as seen in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- The oppression of woman is evident in the everyday life of a women living in the 19th century. This oppression was not only localized to their duties at home, but it made its way into women’s health issues as well. Women of the 19th century, and even still at the turn of the century, were suffering from postpartum depression, and they were misdiagnosed because postpartum, like almost any woman's illness, was treated as illness of the womb. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, affirms that the oppression of women resulted in their injurious medical treatment, which, in the end, was the equivalent to life in prison....   [tags: 19th century, history, women's rights, Yellow Wall]

Free Essays
359 words (1 pages)

Essay on Women Authors of the 19th Century

- Women Authors of the 19th Century Some of the most influential women authors of all time lived in the 19th century. These women expressed their inner most thoughts and ideas through their writings. They helped to change society, perhaps without knowing it, through poetry, novels, and articles. Emily Dickinson, Harriet Jacobs, Kate Chopin, Louisa May Alcott, and Elizabeth Oakes Smith are the best-known controversial and expressive women authors of their time. On December 10, 1830 a poet was born....   [tags: Women 19th Century Authors Writers Essays]

Research Papers
3165 words (9 pages)

Amputation: Deliberate Surgical Removal of a Part of The body Essay

- Amputation is the general term describing a condition of disability resulting from the deliberate surgical removal of a part of the body, a limb, or part of a limb (Bowker & Michael, 1992). Limb loss can be a congenital condition, the result of traumatic injury, or a surgical procedure to treat disease (Clawson, 2009). Clawson posits that the majority of amputations in the United States are the result of vascular disease caused by diabetes (p. 393). In cases of traumatic amputation, adjustment and adaptation is more difficult than for people who have had time to prepare, such as may occur with diabetes....   [tags: raumatic amputation, adjustment and adaptation]

Research Papers
1502 words (4.3 pages)

Medical Advancements During the 19th Century Essay

- The medical potential of the 19th Century America was known to be one of the most unprepared medical countries in the world during the beginning of the19th century. Although today we are considered to have one of the best medical programs in the world, America was once unaware of how important hygiene and health was. The main points in the medical advancement throughout the 19th century were, the new practices and beliefs, the new diseases and bacteria’s formed and found, as well as the medicine that was discovered and famous surgeries that were performed....   [tags: remedies, infection, sugery]

Research Papers
932 words (2.7 pages)

The blood and carbolic acid combined to form a crust or thick paste” (Youngson 145). Antiseptics did not fully catch on until the 1870s, at that point Lister demonstrated the drastically reduced death rate in hospitals (Bloodwiki).

Works Cited

Connor, J.T.H. Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Victorian Revolution in Surgery. April 2004. 15 March 2005 .

Youngson, A.J. The Scientific Revolution in Victorian Medicine. New York: Holmes & Meier Publisher, 1979.

Victorian Medicine-Bloodwiki . January 2005. 15 March 2005 .
Return to 123HelpMe.com