Monday, March 28, 2016
Surgery in the Old Days
Derrick was quick with the saw, but despite his best efforts many of his patients died. In fact, only a third of those who went through an amputation lived. They died of infection. No one knew about bacteria in those days. (You can read a brief overview here: http://www.ushistory.org/brandywine/special/art06.htm)
After the war, Derrick decides to go to England to study with John Hunter, a renowned surgeon. (You can read a brief summary of John Hunter's life here: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian/history/johnhunter.html) Derrick hopes to find a way to prevent sepsis and he believes science holds the key.
It is on the ship that Derrick meets Margaret. The two clash immediately since she, like many of her female counterparts during that time, used herbs and various concoctions to aid in healing family members. She abhorred bloodletting. He believed in its efficacy in many diseases.
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