You asked: Why was infection such a problem in 19th century surgery?

What were the problems with surgery in the 19th century?

In the early 19th century, surgeons, and even more so their patients, still faced the major problems which had been there for centuries – pain, shock, lack of time, blood loss and infection. It was difficult to operate successfully on a conscious patient.

How were diseases treated in the 19th century?

In the 19th century, illnesses, including those of children, were treated at home. That pertained to urban as well as rural children alike. In the impoverished Polish countryside, medical treatment was largely confined to the folk-medicine practices that had been passed down from one generation to another.

When did surgery become safe?

The history of surgery: Twentieth century and beyond

Fortunately, by the 1940s patients could breathe a sigh of relief. Blood transfusions, antibiotics and penicillin finally made surgery relatively safe. And with these advancements surgery took leaps and bounds.

What was surgery like 1848?

In 1848 there were no reliable forms of anaesthetics. Surgeons had used alcohol or opium and Liston had started using ether in the USA. But none of the methods was reliable. So patients suffered great pain and operations had to be done quickly.

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Why was there rapid change in surgery during the 19th century?

There was a rapid change in surgical treatments in the 19th and 20th century due to the work of individuals such as James Simpson, Joseph Lister and because of a shift in attitudes towards safe surgery.

What did they use for anesthesia in the 1800s?

Military Use of Ether and Chloroform

American military doctors began using ether as an anesthetic on the battlefield during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and by 1849 it was officially issued by the U.S. Army.

What were the health conditions like in the 19th century?

Diseases such as pulmonary tuberculosis (often called consumption) were endemic; others such as cholera, were frighteningly epidemic. In the morbidity statistics, infectious and respiratory causes predominated (the latter owing much to the sulphurous fogs known as pea-soupers).