Sunday, December 21, 2008

Medical Miracles

This weekend my four year old daughter has been very sick with what appears to be a stomach virus. As I tried to sleep next to her last night, I was thankful to know that down the street are two emergency care centers and one hospital. I was thankful for the nausea medicine the doctor gave her that brought her some relief from hours of vomiting, and I was thankful for the medical knowledge I had from school and other cultural sources. While not understanding all the medical science, I do understand what a virus is and how our body fights it. How lonely and frightening it must have been for mothers earlier in our history to know their child was sick but not to have help and medicine close by.

A pioneer child might get injured in numerous ways or become ill with various epidemics like malaria. However, even a simple cold could be serious. A Colorado pioneer mother might have relied on home remedies such as herbs that she grew in her garden. She might also call on a self-proclaimed doctor who stuffed all his equipment into saddlebags. Doctors had little organized medical training, so they resorted to strange treatments like laying the patient bare in the snow and pouring cold water on them until they shook, or they administered large doses of what seem like archaic drugs today. Therefore, calling the doctor was often a last resort and feared by many.

We often take for granted modern medicine, but by comparison it seems quite miraculous at times. Below are some interesting sites for researching this more.

You will want to visit the United States National Library of Medicine as it includes video, images and articles on the history of medicine.

Another interesting site is the Dittrick Medical History Center.

Visit a Large Archive of Articles on Medical History.

From the invention of Bandaides to Artificial Hearts, this sites describes many medical inventions that have changed our lives.

Smithosian information on medical history

Hippocampus article on Progressive reform of medicine.

As we look to a new President in office, this is an interesting site about unknown illnesses of former Presidents.

May your holidays be healthy and all that you hope for!

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