Medicine in the 19th century

Medicine was revolutionized during the 19th Century by advances in chemistry and laboratory technology and equipment. In fact the scientific basis for current medical practice was developed during the 19th Century, and all of the disciplines- except anatomy that made up the first 2 years of medical school were founded. Medical advancements in the 19th Century were so great that medical discoveries were made almost every few year.

Many diseases that were fatal earlier on were either treatable by the late 1800’s or a cure would be found early in the 1900’s using techniques from 19th Century scientists. Many things were almost impossible in the early 1800’s until theses scientific discoveries had been discovered. One major example is surgery and blood transfusion, before anaesthetics were developed surgery was more life threatening than life saving and without blood transfusion perfected many people would not have lived to see tomorrow.

These advancements in medicine allowed people to live a better life and also allowed the advancements of other things such as technology. With the help of medicine people were not as scared of diseases and most are able to be treated. In Frankenstein when Victor’s mom had fallen ill they were told that, “…her fever was accompanied by the most alarming symptoms, and the looks of her medical attendants prognosticated the worst event” (Shelly, 28).

The doctors here would have had extreme difficulty just by trying to treat her with the technology of medicine that they currently had. As we advanced more towards the late 19th century it probably could have been treated and they might have had even created a vaccine for it so that when she was taking care of Elizabeth she would have had a lower chance of catching “Scarlet fever”. In the 19th centuries people who took care of the ill were commonly infected because diseases spread easily and vaccines for most diseases were not created in the early 1800’s.

Hospitals were not clean or efficient places of care and recovery; it was designed more for the poor since the rich people were treated in their own homes with personal doctors. Nursing was considered lowly work and was poorly paid because people who took care of others had a chance of getting infected. This resulted in hospital conditions and nurse training to be really poor. During the late 19th century the situation for hospitals and nursing had dramatically changed primarily as the result of the work of a small number of individuals.