History of Health Care

Debbie, Angel, Shraddha, & Emaan

Ancient Times - (Date unknown as it's not recorded exactly)

- Humans had to protect themselves against predators.

- Superstition : Illness/disease was caused by supernatural spirits

- Used Herbs and plants as a medicine

Ex: Digitalis from Foxglove plant - Which was chewed to strengthen the heart

Quinine from the bark of Cinchona - Which was used to control fever,muscle spasm

and Malaria.


2750 BC - The first earliest known surgery to be performed in Egypt.

2600 BC - Egyptian Imhotep describes the diagnosis and treatment of 200 diseases.

1450 BC - Hearst Papyrus was written. It's the first medical papyri of Egypt. It talks about urine, blood within the body, hair and bites from animals, bugs, etc.

Jewish Medicine

- Concentrated more on health rules concerning food, cleanliness and quarantine.

- Moses : Pre-Hippocratic Medical thought ; banned quackery (The only physician then was God alone)

- Day and Rest was the greatest contribution to human welfare.

Greek Medicine

  • Hippocratic: no dissection, only onsertvations, careful notes of signs/symptoms of diseases, wrote standard of ethics which is the basis for today's medical basis
  • Nymphodorus was noted for his combination of surgery with the use of drugs

Roman Medicine

  • Public health
  • Galen (doctor) wrote a book about medicine

Dark Ages (400-800 AD)

  • Medicine practice only in convents and monasteries
  • Epidemics: small pox, bubonic plague (Black Death)

Middle Ages (800-1400 AD)

  • Persian physician, Rhazes, identifies smallpox
  • Quantities Laws passed
  • Leonardo da Vinci dissects a corpse


  • Universities and medical school for research.
  • Dissection
  • Book Publishing

16th and 17th Century

  • Leonardo da Vinci: anatomy of the body
  • Anton van Leeuwenhoek: playing with lenses (invented microscope), Observed microorganisms.
  • William Harvey: Circulation of blood
  • Gabriele Fallopius: discovered tube from ear to throat
  • Some quackery

18th Century

  • Edward Jenner: Smallpox vaccination
  • Joseph Priestly: discovered oxygen
  • Benjamin Franklin: invented bifocals, found that colds could be passed from person to person.
  • Laennec: invented the stethoscope

19th and 20th Century

  • 1818 - James Blundell preformed the first successful blood tranfusion.
  • 1853 - Charles Gabriel Pravaz and Alexander Wood develop the syringe.
  • 1895 - Wilhelm Conrad discovers x-rays.

1900 - 1945

  • 1901 - Karl Landsteiner introduced the system to classify blood into A, B, AB, and O groups.
  • 1922 - Insulin was first used to treat diabetes.
  • 1928 - Sir Alexander Flemming discovered penicillin.
  • 1945 - First vaccine developed for influenza (flu).

1945 - 1975

  • 1953 - James Watson and Francis Crick work on the structure of the DNA molecule.
  • 1967 - Dr. Christian Barnard preformed the first human heart transplant.
  • 1975 - Robert S. Ledley invented the CT-Scan.

1975 - Present

  • 1977 - First vaccine developed for pneumonia.
  • 1985 - Willem J. Kloff invented the artificial kidney dialysis machine.
  • 2006 - First vaccine to target the cause of cancer.