The History Of Surgery. Essay

2600 words - 10 pages

The most important and influential discovery was the practice of surgery. With this invention, human life became more sophisticated, humans lived longer, and we obtained knowledge of ourselves sufficient enough to break the boundaries built by ignorance. Lacking prescription drugs, accurate tools, computer technology, and any background experience to build from, our ancestors struggled to learn how to repair the human body. They did a surprisingly competent job of treating the sick and injured. Some of the medical technology developed in ancient times surpassed anything available in the modern world until the 18th century or 19th century. In eras wherein religious views took precedence over medicine and logic, surgical advancement was difficult. The knowledge we have now was obtained from these people's exploits.The first known medical procedure is called trephination. Trephination is the cutting of a hole through one's skull to relive excess pressure. This dates back to as early as the Stone Age, around 3,000 BC. Unearthed remains of successful brain operations, as well as surgical instruments, were found in France at one of Europe's noted archeological digs. The success rate was remarkable, even around 7,000 BC. Skulls have been found from about 8,000 BC with these telltale holes, most of which are exact and show growth, meaning that patients often lived for weeks, even months, afterwards. Pre-historic evidence of brain surgery was not limited to Europe. Early Incan civilization used brain surgery as an extensive practice as early as 2,000 BC. In Paracas, Peru, archeological evidence indicates that brain surgery was used frequently. Here, too, an inordinate success rate was noted as patients were restored to health. The treatment was used to treat mental illnesses they blamed on evil spirits, epilepsy, headaches, and osteomylitis, as well as head injuries. Brain surgery was also used for both spiritual and magical reasons; often, the practice was limited to kings, priests and the nobility. Surgical tools in South America were made of both bronze and carved obsidian. The Akkadians used trephination thousands of years later for the same purposes, and the practice was improved until it reached the state of today.The Akkadians learned from experience with surgery. There were no books or documentations of previous procedures, so the trade was passed down through hands on, personal training. The Code of Hamurabi states that surgeons of the Akkadian era were well paid, but a failure was expensive. Surgeons who did not cure or even killed their patients, if only by accident, paid the patient's family with money or their lives, depending on the social class involved. Laws 215 through 223 provide information on physicians' duties and payments. These laws were often strict and binding. Law number 218 is as follows: "218. If a physician makes a large incision with the operating knife, and kills him, or opens a tumor with the operating knife, and cuts out...

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