Instruments of cure

  1. Published on November 6, 2011

Medical antiques often demonstrate quite remarkable feats of skilled engineering and beautiful artistic design.

Scarificator and Antimony Jar

No less remarkable is the psyche of clinicians who used them to treat patients, or of the patients who allowed them to be used.

The practice of letting blood was commonplace, as was the use of toxic ointments or salves to induce blisters (vesiculation) and poisonous emetics and laxatives to purge.

Some of these injurious remedies were imposed, but many would have been sought out by the patients themselves.

By what authority did the doctors of the day persuade their long suffering patients to undergo such “treatments”?

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