Monday, November 20, 2017

Old time doctoring

Whenever I read or watch something historical, I’ll often wonder what I’d do if while going to work one day a time portal opened and zapped me back to then.  (As if the things you think about to pass the time make sense.)  Anyway, I recently watched some YouTube videos on old time pirates.  One point they made was that if you were a man of learning who was a doctor, it was unlikely you’d choose to sail with pirates.  Unless you were a drunkard or in trouble with the law or something.  So pirate doctors weren’t always the best, and sometimes the “doctor” was just a crewman who could read a pamphlet on how to do amputations and had the stomach to do it.

So I was wondering if I were transported back a few centuries, could I cut it as a doctor.  And I realized that by not bleeding my patients for every little ailment like a stomachache, I might have more of them survive.  This got me wondering if – because I didn’t sleep through eighth grade health class – I’d be a better doctor than a doctor from 1800?  I wouldn’t bleed my patients, I definitely wouldn’t blow smoke up their ass, and if I called in a surgeon I’d make them put their instruments in some boiling water first to cut down on infection.  I mean, I’d even do the weird thing – for the time – of washing my hands. 

Of course, this also got me wondering which of today’s professional knowledge – medical, economic, political, etc. – will seem so stupid to the “common knowledge” of a century or two hence.

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