Book Tells Horror Of 18th Century Surgery

Posted by admin on Jan 28, 2009

We all know medicine has come a long way in the past century. Now a 300-year-old guidebook, recently found on a dusty shelf, reveals how horrible things were way back then. The book, written in 1712 and titled “Treatise of the Operations of Surgery,” gives advice on such horrific procedures as amputations — before anesthesia was invented.

On amputating a leg: “Cut quick with a crooked knife before covering the stump with the remaining skin,” French medical author Joseph Charriere recommended.

On treating wounds: “If the wound be only in the flesh you may bathe it with brandy and cover the part with a compressed dip in a warm wine quickened with spir vini,” Charriere wrote. “If the wound is to the nervous parts you can dissolve sugar candy, camphire and myrrh in it.”


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