Medicine and the human machine

In ancient Japan, teeth were extracted by dentists who used only their fingers. Hundreds of years ago, Chinese doctors were not paid by their sick patients, but only by those who they kept healthy.

In the times of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, people thought that the liver, not the heart, was the center of emotion. Now we know that it is not the heart, either.

Before giving up on a patient they couldn’t cure, doctors in the Middle East used to display that patient in the center of town, in case a passerby might speak up with a cure.

After reading the books that interested him, Hippocrates (for whom the Hippocratic oath of medicine is named) supposedly burned down a library, so that his competitors would not have access to the same information.

The barber’s pole dates from the time when barbers were also surgeons. It represents a bandage wrapped around an injured arm.

The Rx sign that pharmacists use was originally the astrological sign for Jupiter.

While Europeans were dying by the thousands, the Chinese were using a vaccination against smallpox. They would inhale the powdered material from the sores of a smallpox victim.

One of the remedies recommended for the Black Plague was to put the intestines of young pigeons or puppies on the forehead.

A medical curiosity was David Kennison, who was born in 1736 and participated in the Boston Tea Party. At the age of seventy-six, serving in the War of 1812, he lost a hand to a
gunshot wound. Later, a tree fell on him, and fractured his skull. Some years later, while training soldiers in the use of a cannon, something went wrong and an explosion shattered his legs. He recovered. Yet later, a horse damaged his face. He died peacefully in 1851 at the age of 115.

Cataract surgery (removal of lens from eye) was first done in 1748. But the first anesthesia wasn’t until 1842!

In 1809, a woman had a twenty-two pound ovarian tumor removed without anesthesia.


Here is some advice from a book 132 years old: (this is no longer corsidered correct)

“DROWNING. – Attend to the following essential rules:

1. Lose no time.

2. Handle the body gently.

3. Carry the body with the head gently raised, and never hold it up by the feet.

4. Send for medical assistance immediately, and in the meantime act as follows:

– Strip the body, rub it dry: then rub it in hot blankets, and place it in a warm bed in a warm room.

– Cleanse away the froth and mucus from the nose and mouth.

– Apply warm bricks, bottles, bags of sand, &c. to the arm-pits, between the thighs and soles of the feet.

– Rub the surface of the body with the hands enclosed in warm dry worsted socks.

– If possible, put the body into a warm bath.

– To restore breathing, put the pipe of a common bellows into one nostril, carefully closing
the other and the mouth; at the same time drawing downwards, and pushing gently backwards the upper part of the windpipe, to allow a more free admission of air;
blow the bellows gently, in order to inflate the lungs, till the breast be raised a little; then set the mouth and nostrils free, and press gently on the chest; repeat
this until signs of life appear. When the patient revives apply smelling-salts to the nose, give warm wine or brandy and water. Cautions.

1. Never rub the body with salt or spirits.

2. Never roll the body on

3. Continue the remedies for twelve hours without ceasing.”

And from that same old book:

“LEECHES AND THEIR APPLICATION. – The leech used for medical purposes is called the hirudo Medicinatis, to distinguish it from other varieties, such as the horse-leech and the Lisbon leech. It varies from two to four inches in length, and is of a blackish brown
colour, marked on the back with six yellow spots, and edged with a fellow line on each side. Formerly leeches were supplied by Sweden but latterly most of the leeches are procured from France, where they are now becoming scarce. When leeches are applied to a part, it should be thoroughly freed from down or hair by shaving, and all liniments, &c., carefully and effectually cleaned away by washing. If the leech is hungry it will soon bite,
but sometimes great difficulty is experienced in getting them to fasten on. When this is the case, roll the leech into a little porter, or moisten the surface with a little blood, or milk, or sugar and water, Leeches may be applied by holding them over the port with a piece of
linen cloth or by means of an inverted glass, under which they must be placed. When applied to the gums, care should be taken to us a a leech glass, as they are apt to creep down the patient’s throat; a large swan’s quill will answer the purpose of a leech glass. When leeches are gorged they will drop off themselves; never tear them off from a
person., but just dip the point of a moistened finger into some salt and touch them with it.
Leeches are supposed to abstract about two drachms of blood, or six leeches draw about an ounce; but this is independent of the bleeding after they have come off, and more blood generally flows then than during the time they are sucking.”

One hundred years ago (1890), in Connecticut, Idaho, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia, it was legal to practice medicine with no training whatsoever. Texas, however, required a high school diploma.

Surgeons used to have to operate quickly, before the patients died of extreme pain or blood loss. Robert Liston worked so fast that one day he accidentally cut off his nurse’s fingers. It is not known whether the rest of the operation was a success.

As late as 34 years after the public introduction of anesthesia, some doctors refused to use it. Some said that the shock of pain is a necessary ingredient to recovery. Others were
afraid, because some preachers said that anesthesia was the work of the devil.

Most people don’t realize that Charles Lindbergh was a pioneer in medical technology. He worked on an early heart-lung machine.

The flu mutated into a killer in 1918 and killed 20 million people. Over half a million Americans died.

In 1976, doctors in Los Angeles went on strike because of the rising cost of malpractice insurance. All elective and non-emergency surgery and medical attention were canceled. During that time, eighteen percent less people died than usual.

From all our exposure to unnecessary penicillin through medication as well as through treatment of cattle and pork, life-threatening bacteria have grown resistant to our number-one line of defense. In 1960, 13% of staphylococci infections were resistant to penicillin. Now, 91% are resistant to penicillin.

There were 1,647 heart transplants in 1988. There were 1,700 liver transplants in 1988.

In the future people will be able to regrow missing arms or legs like a salamander can grow a new tail. Research has shown promising results in getting bone to grow with the application of electricity. Children under age five who lose the tip of a finger up to half-way to the outermost joint, if left untreated, the finger will completely regrow. If medical attention is applied, stitches for example, the child’s finger will not regrow.

In Tibet, monks occasionally performed brain surgery successfully. They would bore a hole through a person’s forehead and insert a tube into their pineal gland, at the bottom of their
brain. This was to induce a “mystical state of consciousness.”


Medical Miscellaneous

Dr. James Muatt lived to the age of 120 and spent 95 years in the practice of medicine.

Two of every five Americans have never been to a dentist.


Modern Medicine

One out of every eight Americans will spend some time as a patient in a hospital this year.

There is a phenomenon called noscomial disease. It means coming to a hospital for some reason, and catching another disease while in the hospital. Hospitals are not healthy places. One out of every 21 Americans admitted will catch something else merely from being in the hospital. Every year, 15,000 Americans die of something other than what they were admitted for.

Of all the people who work in hospitals, only 1.78% are doctors. 17.27% are clerical workers. So there are nine times more people involved with the paperwork, than those involved in the actual work!

An average person in America who is over 65 years old takes between ten and twenty prescription pills every day.

A woman started showing a bunch of general symptoms that doctors could not diagnose. She went from one doctor to another. One recommended that she have her uterus removed. Finally, her problem was relieved by a dentist. He discovered she was suffering mercury poisoning from her fillings. He removed the fillings and substituted another material.

EEG and EKG machines are not perfect. In one study EKG machines indicated a heart problem in healthy people 20% of the time. Sometimes in a room with more than one EKG, one machine will read the electrical leaks of another. In another study a researcher hooked up an EEG to a mannequin whose head was filled with lime jello and the EEG found signs of life.

The average doctor goes to medical school for four years, yet gets only two and a half hours of education on nutrition as it applies to preventive medicine or curative medicine.

16 out of every 100 doctors will be sued this year.

A sociologist did a study that turned up some mortifying results. It seems that the people who work in hospital emergency rooms are more likely to administer resuscitation attempts on patients who are brought in dead on arrival who are good looking, than on those patients who are uglier.

Anyone who thinks Western medicine is a joke should realize that in Guinea, where modern medicine is not practiced, over 75% of the people die before the age of 50.



Theoretically, a human can survive without the stomach, most of the intestines, one kidney, 3/4 of the liver, and one lung. Furthermore, the legs and arms and sex organs can be removed successfully. Don’t try this at home.

A Case of Do-it-Yourself Surgery In the 1600’s a locksmith was suffering from bladder stones. Being a locksmith, he was used to logical repairs to problems. He took matters into his own hands, and removed his own bladder stone with a kitchen knife.

In Kenya, African fire ants are what doctors use to close surgical wounds in place of sutures. The ant is induced to bite the two sides of the wound with its mandibles, and hang on.

The longest operation on record took 96 hours. During February 4 – 8, 1951, surgeons in Michigan removed an ovarian cyst from a woman. When they were done, she weighed 308 lbs less.

Joseph Ascough who was born in 1935 holds the record for the most major operations. He has had 327 surgeries for warts in his windpipe.

Sometimes doctors make mistakes that are like simple bookkeeping errors. Surgeons once removed a kidney from a man who had a kidney tumor. The problem was that they removed the good kidney. And they have been known to saw the wrong leg off an

Sometimes surgeons take an organ totally out of a person, overhaul it on a workbench, like a car mechanic working on a power steering unit, then re-install it. This is done most often with kidneys to remove difficult tumors.

Want to improve your vision without using glasses or contact lenses. Here’s what you do:

1. Get a donated cornea.

2. Cool it to -70 degrees.

3. Fasten it on a lathe and trim it to the proper shape to refocus light.

4. Stitch it on over your present cornea.
– Or have an eye surgeon do it for you. This new technique is now in frequent use.

One out of every 243 Americans will have plastic surgery this year.

There is a new twist in plastic surgery. Surgeons can take a bone from your body, smash it into paste, then mold it like clay into a new shape and replace it. This has been done with one seven-year-old boy whose skull was misshapen. They removed the whole top of his head, pulverized it, then re-formed it and put it back on. The headache the boy suffered was less than the ones he was otherwise doomed to due to the previous shape of his head.
Perhaps surgeons of the future should be encouraged to play with Play-Doh when they are growing up.



Scientists are working on the possibility of removing a dying woman’s ovaries and save the eggs so that the woman can still have children, even after she is dead.

If you split a human embryo when it is less than a week old, identical twins will develop. This is already done with cattle.

Fetuses have gills.

One out of every 88 births is twins.

One out of every 512,000 births is quadruplets.

One out of every 16 children are born with defects. Most of these are minor, such as the babies born with tails. When a baby is born with a tail, the doctors cut it off right away. Most people do not know if they had a tail.

“Ten years ago 80% of underweight, premature babies died, while today 80% survive.” – Allan Maurer

“If you’re pregnant, you go to the doctor and he treats you as if you’re sick. Childbirth is a nine-month disease which must be treated, so you’re sold on intravenous fluid bags, fetal
monitors, a host of drugs, the totally unnecessary episiotomy, and – the top of the line product – the Caesarean delivery!” – Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn, from his book, Confessions of a Medical Heretic

The infant mortality rate in Canada is 25 percent lower than in America.

In 1793, in France a true cyclops was born. She was a girl who lived to fifteen years old. She had a single eye in the middle of her face.

In Finland babies were born in saunas until the 1920’s. The babies probably were more comfortable arriving in a dark, warm room than in a bright, cold hospital room.

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