Tuesday, September 3, 2013

History of sickness and medical art 8 : modern humans, the oldest medical art


< trepanation >
This time, I investigate vestiges of oldest medical art of our modern humans.
It shows a positive will to medical treatment, and a spirit of bold challenge.


Code of Hammurabi 

< Code of Hammurabi >
The oldest proof that shows the existence of a doctor and a medicine document was in Middle and Near East.
The Code of Hammurabi of the 18th century B.C. is a collection of laws of the city state of Mesopotamia.
There are two strange articles (summary) in this.
"When a doctor treats a fracture or intestines, the patient must pay a silver coin."
"If a doctor cut a patient’s eyes with a bronze knife and made him blind, the doctor's hand has to be cut."
It is shown that doctors cured patients broadly, and received rewards, and were held responsible for mistake.
Surprisingly a doctor seems to operate on a patient with stinging his eyeball with thin needle.
The surgery became common, and therefore the regulations were necessary.
A cataract surgery of ancient Roman times might originate from this surgery.


a medical book of papyrus

< a medical book of papyrus >
In Egypt from the 20th century B.C., a lot of papyruses that the surgery and the internal medicine were written were found.
A part of these description will be old more than 1000 years additionally.
In a relief engraving of about 2500 years B.C., a scene of performing circumcision with a knife was described.


a relief engraving of performing circumcision in Egypt

< a relief engraving of performing circumcision in Egypt >
The oldest example of the surgery was discovered in a burial site of the Neolithic era in France.
The skull of a male at about 5000 B.C. has been bored two holes into.
Since the bone tissue of the holes section was being reproduced, it is thought that it is remains of medical treatment.
The skull seems to have been cut open with a sharp stone implement like the volcanic glass.
There was an example that a cut disk of the remains was buried together with the dead body.
Such trepanations of prehistoric times are found widely in Europe, China, and Peru.

It has been said that the reason why such dangerous surgery was carried out was to send away a demon.

However, many of these surgeries were concentrating on the left-hand side of male heads, because they treated the injury of the battle.
The survival rate of the trepanation was considerably high, it was 25-80% in medieval Europe, ancient German, and ancient Peru.

Modern humans already were widely doing considerably difficult treatments from prehistory until ancient times.
From the next time, I introduce the medical art of the ancient civilization.




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