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View Diary: More horrible anti-women cruelty in Ireland (42 comments)

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  •  during the dark ages, the mother rarely survived (4+ / 0-)

    However, there are historical accounts which indicate the mother routinely survived the operation during the
    Roman Empire era. The fall of Rome coupled with the flight of the educated classes to Constantinople resulted in the technique being lost for some time during the Dark Ages and then re-instituted.
    http://jace.myweb.uga.edu/...

    Sterile procedures were discovered by Dr Semmelweis. As recently as our Civil War, surgeons probed for bullets with their fingers without washing between pts, with death rates exceeding 50% for the simplest procedures.  Anesthesia was unknown and surgeons could reputedly remove a limb in less than 1 minute

    •  Before sterile technique, caesarean sections were (5+ / 0-)

      fatal to the mother:

      The Roman Lex Regia (royal law), later the Lex Caesarea (imperial law),[dubious – discuss][citation needed] of Numa Pompilius (715–673 BCE), required the child of a mother dead in childbirth to be cut from her womb.[8] This seems to have begun as a religious requirement that mothers not be buried pregnant,[9] and to have evolved into a way of saving the fetus, with Roman practice requiring a living mother to be in her tenth month of pregnancy before resorting to the procedure, reflecting the knowledge that she could not survive the delivery.[10
      From Wikipedia.

      Antisepsis (techniques to treat surface infections) are indeed ancient - the good samaritan pouring oil and wine into the traveler's wounds was performing antisepsis. Sterile technique, the ability to keep a sterile field, to sterilize all instruments, and to keep out all environmental contaminants, is much more recent and caesarean sections were not ethical unless it is available.



      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:14:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would argue that the period you cite is a period (6+ / 0-)

        where Galen and his discoveries dominated, which were during a time when human dissection was forbidden. Galen's influence continued until modern times and resulted in the loss of earlier knowledge .
        Recent archeology indicates earlier civilizations may have had antiseptic techniques superior to the Romans.
        http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/...
        http://explorable.com/...
        Related problems involve a lack of easily available information on historical nonWestern medicine and the loss of many ancient texts during the Dark Ages regarding Western medical practices.  When the Church became the repository of surviving texts, those deemed pagan were destroyed

        •  From the link you give: (5+ / 0-)
          In prehistoric times, sharpened flints and other sharp-edged devices were used to perform various surgical operations. Circumcision and other ritualistic operations were later performed with similar instruments. There are indications that in Neolithic times saws of stone and bone were used to perform amputations. Nearly all major operations were performed by the ancient Hindus nearly a thousand years before the advent of Greek medicine. Knowledge of the use of soporific potions to alleviate the pain caused by surgery can be traced to remote antiquity.

          The early Greeks and Romans practiced surgery with great skill and with such cleanliness that infection of surgical and other wounds was relatively uncommon. Their cleanliness and their use of boiled water or wine for irrigating wounds was probably suggested by Hippocrates, a competent surgeon and diagnostician of that time. Other notable early surgeons were Erasistratus and Herophilus of the medical school at Alexandria, and Galen, whose numerous treatises were long influential.

          None of these are abdominal surgeries, which place the greatest demands on surgical technique, as any contaminant inside the body cavity is in a perfect milieu for growth. The link in the wikipedia article to women surviving caesarean sections in the Talmud I believe is referring to symphysiotomies ("when they divide the loins of a woman").

          Interestingly the Hippocratic oath prohibited abdominal surgery. The original oath promises not to cut for the stone, meaning kidney stones. Kidney stones are intensely painful, and I can understand the temptation of a capable surgeon, who stitched up wounds and did amputations, to try to cut into the body to remove them, but without sterile technique any such attempt would be fatal to the patient.



          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:50:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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