18th Century Medical History

By: Ashlee and Alyssa

Discoveries and People ~

The smallpox vaccine was discovered in the 18th century by Edward Jenner by using a cowpox disease, hoping the patients would become immune and not die. He is called the founding father of immunology.

< Picture of James Lind

There were practical advances in medicine because of close observation. William Smellie was the first to make a scientific study of the physical process of childbirth. He watched the women in labor, studying the mechanism in which the labor worked at discovered unobserved details in the birth.

Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocals.

James Lind was a Scottish naval surgeon that discovered citrus fruits could prevent scurvy. He published his findings in 1754 and it identified the common and dangerous disease that sailors faced. After 40 years, supplies of lemons are sent to ships.


Brunonian Theory

John Brown was a doctor in Edinburg, he published a theory in 1784 that proposed there were two type of diseases. Those that had too much sthenic (energy level too high and has too muchpower) and those that had too much asthenic (too little energy and abnormal physical weakness)

The artificial leech was created near the end of the 18th century as a way to diminish the usage of real leeches in medical procedures. It was a tool in blood letting and was much more sterile than using a real leech, but the object itself looked frightening

The mid-eighteenth century Western medicine was based on the ancient Greek principle of "four humors"—blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Balance among the humors was the key to health; disease was thought to be caused by too much or too little of the fluids. The healing power of hot, cold, and a variety of plants and herbs, were also highly regarded.

Health care workers and trends of the era

John Hunter was an English surgeon, he introduced tube feeding and established scientific surgical procedures. He was one of the first healthcare workers of this era.

Some trends

Physicians with medical degrees and scientific training began showing up on the American landscape in the late colonial period. The University of Pennsylvania opened the first medical college in 1765

University of Pennsylvania

Medical schools were often opened by physicians who wanted to improve American medicine and raise the medical profession to the high status it enjoyed in Europe and in England. With scientific training, doctors became more authoritative and practiced medicine as small entrepreneurs, charging a fee for their services.