A history of Scottish medicine: themes and influences by Helen Dingwall

By Helen Dingwall

Together with advancements in medication, surgical procedure, and replacement medication when it comes to the altering monetary and social heritage, the writer bargains a brand new synthesis of medication and society in Scotland.

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Extra resources for A history of Scottish medicine: themes and influences

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The Western Medical Tradition 800 BC–1800 AD (Cambridge, 1995); Porter, Greatest Benefit, 6–8. 10. , Source Book of Medical History (New York, 1960), 2–1. 11. Sprengell, C. ), The Aphorisms of Hippocrates and the Sentences of Celsus, with Explanations and References to the Most Considerable Writers in Physick and Philosophy, both Ancient and Modern (London, 1708). 12. Porter, Greatest Benefit, 77. 13. , Healing Threads. Traditional Medicine of the Highlands and Islands (Edinburgh, 1995). 14. Comrie, History, i, 38.

These hospitals were constructed according to standardised plans, and a good example of EARLY MEDICINE IN EARLY SCOTLAND 27 such a hospital has been excavated at Inchtuthill. 4 It is very likely, though, that within the geographical area of occupation, the local population would have had some access to this type of care, and, indeed, that some elements may have been adapted and modified in line with local customs and practices. Among the procedures claimed to have been carried out by the surgeons of the occupying Roman forces were repair of hernias and cataract surgery, while a plethora of substances was used to concoct Galenical drugs and applications.

A comparison may be made here with the later operation of lithotomy for the attempted cure of bladder stones, which were a major affliction at all ages and at all levels of society. Orthodox surgeons avoided attempting the procedure, presumably because of the slim chance of survival. The problem was so pressing, though, that some individuals were prepared to submit themselves in extremis to surgery carried out by ‘amateurs’, often itinerant lithotomists claiming expertise. These individuals often had no right to practise surgery but perhaps because of the regularity with which they tried the procedure, a patient may have had more chance of surviving than with a trained surgeon who had little or no previous 26 A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH MEDICINE experience.

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