An illustrated treatise on the principles and practice of Nineteenth century surgery
Well into the 40s of the XIX century much of what went on in the noisy, dirty, crowded spaces called operating theatres would have resulted familiar to a XVII century surgeon. Dressed in their street clothes, surgeons and assistants (all men) set to work on patients who remained awake throughout their ordeal. Operations were fast in the hope of minimizing pain, shock and blood-loss, and mortality rates were high (through not so high as we might think).
Yet within two generations operating theatres had come to resemble laboratories, with surgeons and female nurses clad in their sterile gowns and working in almost complete silence. Anaesthesia had taken the problem of conscious patients out of the equation, and operations might take an hour or so.
How did we get to this stage? How did the relationship between medicine theory and surgical practice begin to change? Why did the surgery become a scientific discipline? How did cultural, economic and intellectual developments affect what went on in operating theatres?
Drawing on the scholarship of a broad array of medical historians, cultural theorists, and philosophers, Richard Barnett turns with characteristic lucidity to the world of XIX century, exposing its tensions and contradictions with merciless precision. A compelling fusion of narrative and illustration offered by the Wellcome Collection archives invites us to look with fresh eyes at this most fascinating of centuries.
Richard Barnett is a writer, teacher and broadcaster on the cultural history of science and medicine. He studied medicine in London before becoming a historian, and teaches on the Pembroke-Kings Programme in Cambridge. In 2011 he received one of the first Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowships, and has made many appearances on British and American television and radio. His first book, Medical London: City of Diseases: City of Cures, was a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4, and Will Self called his The Sick Rose ‘superbly lucid and erudite’. With he published Il sorriso rubato in which he probes the evolution of dentistry.
|Dimensions||cm 24,0 x 17,0|