What medical discoveries have been made by famous doctors throughout history?

Just take a look at some of the greatest medical discoveries in history and how they still benefit us today: vaccination. Antibiotics revolutionized modern medicine, as they allowed the treatment and recovery of diseases that used to be fatal. Along with vaccination, antibiotics have facilitated the near eradication of epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis. It's hard to imagine our world without antibiotics.

Today, the medical community is studying resistant bacteria that have evolved due to the overuse of antibiotics. The 19th century was a pioneering period for medical inventions and the development of modern medicine in general. Many commonly used medical devices have their origins in this century. Modern medicine can trace some of its fundamental principles back to the 19th century, such as germ theory and sterilization.

The 19th century also saw the invention of some of the key diagnostic tools commonly used by doctors today; the stethoscope is an excellent example. The world was very different before the 19th century and would never be the same. These 15 medical inventions and discoveries from the 19th century are just some of the great advances made throughout this period. This list is in no particular order and is far from exhaustive.

The first entry on our list of 19th century medical inventions is one that not many people are aware of. The use of the bark of the quinquina tree to treat “fever” was known in South America for some time before its introduction into Europe by the Spanish in the 17th century. In 1820, Pierre Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou finally reliably isolated the active ingredient from the bark. It could now be synthesized on a large scale.

Quinine would remain the standard treatment for malaria until the 1920s, when it was replaced by synthetic alternatives. The patent was then bought by the company Bayer, which immediately realized its potential and began mass production at the end of the 19th century. In 1818, British obstetrician James Blundell performed the first successful human blood transfusion. Before this, other transfusions had been performed, in particular those of Jean-Baptiste Denis in 1667, but they were performed between animals or between animals and humans.

The procedure would take until 1901 to be safe and reliable, when Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian doctor, identified human blood types. This would make transfusions considerably safer and would dramatically improve patient survival after the procedure. After some subsequent advances throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the procedure was improved during the Second World War. NO2, or nitrous oxide, was first discovered in 1772 by Joseph Priestly.

Its “recreational applications” were first identified by Sir Humphrey Davy in the early 19th century in his monumental text on the history, chemistry, physiology and recreational use of nitrous oxide. Starting in the 1930s, it would find its place as the main painkiller during childbirth, much to the relief (literally) of many expectant mothers. In 1867, Joseph Lister published his Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery. This was one of the crucial moments in medical science that would ultimately lead to cleaner operating rooms and higher patient survival rates.

In 1895, Wilhelm Rontgen became the first person to study and systematically name X-rays. However, he was not the first to observe its effects. Smallpox had devastated human civilization for thousands of years before the development of an effective vaccine against it. Thanks to the innovative work of a certain Edward Jenner in the last years of the 18th century, it is no longer a problem today.

By 1900, smallpox was virtually eradicated from Northern Europe and mass vaccination programs continued well into the 1970s. Nowadays, smallpox is widely considered to have been eradicated in most corners of the world. In addition to Bennet and Velpeau, other 19th-century European doctors observed that some of their very sick patients had abnormally high levels of white blood. In fact, leukemia is derived from the Greek Leukos and Heima, which means white blood.

Later work by Franz Neumann would link the disorder to other problems related to the patient's bone marrow. In 1900, leukemia was found to be a family of disorders rather than a single disease. The first “hearing aids” were created in the 17th century. They consisted of basic trumpets that directed sounds ahead of the ear while blocking other noises.

He would spend the next few years refining it and adding batteries, and repackaged the device as Acousticon. Hutchinson had moderate success with the device, but he eventually sold the rights to Kelly Monroe Turner in 1905, who further developed it. Ronald Ross was a British doctor who worked in the Indian Medical Service in the late 1890s. He succeeded in demonstrating that the malaria parasite was transmitted by mosquitoes.

The first true heart surgery proper was performed by Axel Cappelen in 1895, when he performed it at the Rikshospitalet in Kristiania, now Oslo. This catalog of works throughout the 19th century would ultimately pave the way for modern open heart surgery and other invasive surgeries. Previously, this operation was thought to be impossible, but now it is more or less routine. In the mid-1850s, Greek ophthalmologist Andreas Anagnostakis realized that the device could be improved by adding a concave mirror to make it portable.

He had Austin Barnett create a model of his invention for him, which he used in his practice before presenting it to his colleagues. Later, Andreas presented it at the Brussels Ophthalmology Conference in 1857, and the instrument became an instant hit among ophthalmologists. Francis A. made further refinements in 1915.

Welch and William Noah Allyn, who invented the portable direct-light ophthalmoscope. This was the direct forerunner of modern devices used around the world. .