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Say you lived in days of yore. And say your husband took sick With a fever. . . . This is probably what would have happened to him— First, the doctor would have pared your husband's fingernails. Then he would have placed the parings in a little bag. Next he would have hung the little bag around the neck of an eel. Finally, he would have placed the eel in a tub of water. When the eel died, your husband supposed-iy would have gotten well. This questionable form of treatment, advocated by a doctor named Sir Kenelin Digby, is just one of many described in rare, old volumes on display at the Louisiana State university medical school library. We learn from yellow-paged tomes that remedies for whooping cough were also unusual. GOOD OLD DAYS When a child in Norfolk, England, developed whooping cough, "a spider was tied up in a piece ol muslin and pinned over the mantel. The folks in Suffolk went to even more trouble.*- They took the youngster with the whooping cough out to the nearest meadow. Here they dug a hole. Then they held the child's head downward in the hole. In Lincolnshire they served thej whooping cough patient a dish of friend mice. He probably got well in self defense. In Yorkshire they treated him with owl broth. In some sections of the British Xs-les, it was believed the best way to cure the disease was to have the child ride around town astride a big bear. During the Middle Ages, residents of Europe often crawled under a-bramble bush in the hopes of curing their rheumatism. The Chinese and New Zealanders regarded color as a factor in healing. A red flannel cloth was worn around the neck to stave off a sore throat, since red was supposed , to be anathema to evil spirits. ■ ? CATO'S CURE In the ''History of > Medicine' by Dr. Fielding H. Garrison, w« learn that numbers also playec an important part in treatment. Oato, the Censor, treated sicl oxen with three grains of sane and three laurel leaves for thre* consecutive days. A child born or Easter Eve was supposed to Ix able to cure tertian or intermittent fever. A person born with a caul a mebrane which some times covers the head at birtH was said to be clairvoyant. The power to cure scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymphatic glads), by royal touch was part and parcel of the theory of the divine right of kings, In the West of Ireland the bjood of the Walshes, the Cahills and the Keoghs was held to be an infallible remedy for erysipelas and toothache. The display at the LSU medical school includes books filled w i t h old-timey prescriptions. One of these prescriptions calls for a wine glass full of rye whiskey three times a day. Wine was also a favorite remedy and doctors prescribed it for practically everything. POPULAR IN 1877 An Irishman named Maher; was brought to Charity hospital Just before the turn of the century, one old volume recounts. He was suffering from pneumonia complicated by pericarditis. The medical records show the [rishman "was addicted to irinking whiskey frequently." So what^iortn^rgrve him by way of treatment? An ounce of wine every four hours. And he recovered. Peppermint water was a favorite ingredient for prescriptions in 1877 as were quinine and morphine. Cod liver oil was also very popular and some of the prescriptions called for it to be mixed with white sugar. In one old copy-book, into which a physician had painstakingly pasted copies of his prescriptions, such things were prescribed as syrup of rhubarb, syrup of ipecac, bicarbonate of soda, phosphate of iron, syrup of ginger. One of the interesting things about these prescriptions is that they ranged in price from $1.50 to $3. The LSU collection also con-t a ins many periodicals and medical journals, some of them dating back to 1797. One is a volume of the New Orleans Medical News and Hospital Gazette, dated 1860. MATERNITY CASE In this gazette, a reader asks, "Can a woman remain ignorani 3 of her pregnancy up to the time ; of her delivery." ] In answering this question, a : Dr. R. Scott Orr said> "Yes, ii is possible." Then he goes on tc cite a case to prove his point. "In the year 1852," wrote Dr. Orr, "I attended a young married woman, aged 19, and delivered her of her first child. I was hurriedly sent for to visit her, When I took her mother aside and expressed my fears that the patient would miscarry,! the mother smiled and told me her daughter was not pregnant at all. She said her daughter j had exhibited none of the signs of pregnancy — that she had never suffered from morning sickness. Nor had she ever felt any motions as of a child in her womb." Despite this, the doctor added, "the daughter was soon delivered of an exceedingly small infant/' "Apparently it was still-born. But by the use of hot and cold baths alternately I had the satisfaction of handing over to its unbelieving grandmother a living child. And, I may add, it is now a strong, healthy boy, eight years old." RAKE OLD BOOKS Dr. Orr wrote that on cross-examination the young mother assured him she had not the remotest idea she was pregnant. About 500 pamphlets in the medical school display deal with yellow fever. These make very depressing reading since most of the patients died. The volumes now on display are only a part of the old and rare book collection which occupies a special section in the medical school library. "We have about 500 rare old books which pertain to the history of medicine," said John Ische, medical school librarian, "V/e also have on hand about 1500 volumes of early medical journals." The librarian said that most of the rare old books were obtained from donations, since the library's budget won't stretch far enough to permit purchase of too many of them. Ische said that one of the most interesting books in the collection is a volume describing treatments advocated by Galen. Written in Latin the book was published in the year 1576. But the physician with whom it deals, lived between 130 and 200 A TV MEDICAL REFORMER "Galen was regarded as the greatest Greek physician since, Hippocrates," said Ische. "He lad the reputation for being a skilled practitioner, and everything relating to anatomy and physical disease were referred to him as a final authority from whom there was no appeal." Ische said that as a result, European medicine remained at a dead level for nearly 14 centuries. Then Paracelsus appeared on the scene. The librarian said Paracelsus apparently didn't think much of Galen; that he discarded Geleni-sus and the four humors and taught physicians to substitute chemical therapy for alchemy. Paracelsus attacked witchcraft, Ische added. And, according to one medical authority, he turned thumbs down on the strolling mountebanks, wno butchered the body in lieu of surgical procedure. It was Paracelsus, who introduced such things as mineral baths; who prescribed such medicines as opium, sulphur, . iron, arsenic and copper sulphate. As one writer put it, "He drove full tilt at many a superstition at a time when heresy often meant death." GREEK BELIEFS One of the books in the library is an old reprint of Vesalius' "De Fabrica," which describes how the human body was used for anatomical teachings. This book.was first printed in 1543. The LSU edition is dated 1568. Some of the books deal with Hippocrates, that ancient physician who gave to Greek medicine its scientific spirit and its ethical ideals. One of these volumes contains many interesting medical comments by Hippocrates. For instance: "Shivery with much sweat indicates a difficult case." "To jump on being touched is bad." "Those who puff and cry in their sleep, half opening their eyes, die in deep jaundice." "Lassitude, hiccoughs, a fit— bad!"
|Title||Old time cures often worse than disease, records show|
|Contact Information||John P Isché Library - LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans - 433 Bolivar St. New Orleans, LA 70112 ~ Send Inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org|
Ische, John P.
Ronstrom, George N., Dr.
|Call Number||1961 p36-37|
|Identifier||See 'reference url' on the navigational bars.|
|Source||John P Isché Library - LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans ~ http://www.lsuhsc.edu/no/library|
New Orleans (La.)
|Rights||Use is restricted to IP address of LSUHSC - New Orleans|
|Object File Name||index.cpd|