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Old 06-24-2017, 02:39 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,813
What conditions would a pre-modern doctor be able to treat effectively?

Pre-modern doctors (for the sake of argument say prior to 18th century, but could go much later than that if you felt like it) on the whole get have a fairly bad reputation. What with the lack of antibiotics, anesthetic and most importantly any understanding of germ theory and the importance of sterile conditions.

But doctors have been a somewhat successful profession for an awfully long time without any of those things. And there are plenty of historical description of apparently successful treatment and even surgery (warning rather unpleasant surgical description).

So what conditions could pre-modern doctors successfully treat with a reasonable chance of success? Most infections were mainly untreatable until the 20th century. Any remotely invasive surgery would most likely end if fatal infection. What about simple wound treatments? It seems whatever treatment that didn't involve washing the wound would be counterproductive.

Basic broken bones maybe? Except for the lack of an xray it seems the treatment for those (a splint, bandage or cast) would be the same in any era.

What about surgery itself? If you had an unusually strong immune system and managed to survive the dirty finger poking around in you, for which conditions was there enough correct medical knowledge about for the treatment to do any good?

Last edited by griffin1977; 06-24-2017 at 02:41 PM.