Friday, May 24, 2013

A medical exhibit that won't put you to sleep

"Medical Treasures at Emory" is an exhibit of historical artifacts that serve as reminders of the days when doctors had a rudimentary understanding of human anatomy, performed surgery without antiseptic and used primitive forms of anesthesia for operations and dental work.

The above video gives a peek at some of the objects on display through October at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library. Notable artifacts include one of the earliest stethoscopes from the 19th century, and a kit of Civil War surgeon's instruments, primarily used for amputation.

Among the historical books on display are volumes about Civil War field surgery practices, an 1881 book that incorporates early medical photography to show the ravages of syphilis, a copy of "Notes on Nursing: What It is, and What It Is Not" (1865) by Florence Nightingale, and an 1849 obstetrics book by Charles D. Meigs, an obstetrician who opposed anesthesia and the introduction of sanitary practices during childbirth on the theory that "doctors are gentlemen and a gentleman's hands are clean."

Also on display is a rare copy of  "One the Workings of the Human Body," or "de Humani corporis fabrica," a 1543 book containing the first accurate representations of human anatomy.

Read more about the exhibit.

The rare book that changed medicine
Objects of our afflictions

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