Bloodletting

Bloodletting is one of the more horrific aspects of doctoring in history to the modern mind, the exact opposite of the prescription, ‘first do no harm’. In Starz production of Pillars of the Earth, set in the 1100s AD in England, an early scene shows a doctor bloodletting a patient.  This surprised me because I thought it too early for that particular method of harming a patient. I was wrong. Bloodletting has been practiced for thousands of years and was common among the ancients.  “‘Bleeding’ a patient to health was Read More…

Wisdom Teeth

Although within fiction and movies, there is a sense that hygiene was poor and few people lived into adulthood with all their teeth intact, people did care for their teeth in the Middle Ages.  Herbs and mouthwashes existed that allowed people to do so: http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/teeth.html At the same time, it is certainly true that tooth extraction was extremely common, and probably one of the few means of dealing with a rotten tooth. http://www.ada.org/public/resources/history/timeline_midlage.asppeople If people didn’t care for their teeth, they lost them, as the following image clearly indicates (copyright to Read More…