Browsing: Health/Medicine

A Brief History On May 27, 1907, in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city by the bay came down with an epidemic of Bubonic Plague, the same plague responsible for the infamous “Black Death” in earlier centuries. Digging Deeper San Francisco had its first bout with Bubonic Plague from 1900 to 1904, initially covered up by the Governor of California who did not want to scare off investors and people from moving to the area.  (Note: Governments lie, and lie and lie!)  When the crisis was made public, Chinese immigrants were initially blamed, another step in…

A Brief History On March 30, 1842, Dr. Crawford Long, an American surgeon, made the first known use of ether as a general anesthetic.  Previous attempts at general anesthesia were not effective, and now for the first time major surgery could be accomplished without pain. Digging Deeper Before ether, people had used a variety of natural plant based poisons and drugs to dull pain, including Opium derived from the Opium Poppy.  Alcohol was another popular attempt at easing the pain caused by surgery, but alcohol resulted in excessive bleeding and had minimal pain killing properties.  Opium may have been used…

A Brief History On March 6, 1899, the German chemical and pharmaceutical firm, Bayer AG, (the people that brought us “Heroin”) trademarked perhaps their greatest product, and perhaps the greatest medicine ever invented, Aspirin. Digging Deeper Founded by Friedrich Bayer and Johann Weskott in 1863, the big breakthrough for the company was the production of acetylsalicylic acid, the refinement of an age old remedy made from the bark of willow trees.  Salicylic acid and various salicylate compounds from willow and other plants had been used for millennia to treat fever and other illnesses.  Frenchman Charles Gerhardt had invented aspirin in…

A Brief History On October 28, 1956, Elvis Aron Presley (yes, only 1 “a” in Aron) made medical history by being inoculated with a Polio vaccine shot on national television, demonstrating to a dubious country that getting such a vaccine was safe. Digging Deeper This gesture by the most famous Rock and Roller of all time was instrumental in raising the number of American children inoculated against Polio from .6% to a whopping 80+% in only 6 months. The Polio family of disease had been devastating American (and world wide) children, including 4 term US President Franklin Roosevelt. Researchers had…

A Brief History On October 12, 1773, Eastern State Hospital was established, the first insane asylum in what is now the United States. Built in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, this was a time in history when mentally ill (aka, “insane”) people were seen as something to make fun of and were used as entertainment. The famous English insane asylum, Bethlehem Royal Hospital (more commonly known as “Bedlam,” and yes, that is the source of that word) was a popular tourist attraction! Digging Deeper Eastern State Hospital did a thriving business as it seems there was no shortage of patients. The poor…

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