We may not always recognize it when we go to the doctor’s office or medical building, but medicine has come a very long way. The advances that have taken place over the centuries are practices that have led to people living longer lives, recovering from procedures more effectively, and preventing certain diseases from occurring in the first place. While people may still dislike going to the doctor or going under the knife, the developments in medical history have all but decimated procedures that once seemed to belong in a medieval torture chamber.
Since 1932, Surgilube® has created a formula for surgical lubricant that has made its place in the world of medical developments. Over 80 years later, we continue making medical procedures easier and more effective with our product—a surgical lubricant doctors know they can trust. Find out about some of the life-changing developments in medical history, and outfit your medical clinic with only the best in surgical lubricant!
In terms of heart transplants and blood transfusions, having clean water might not seem like one of the most exciting medical developments. But clean water is not to be underestimated—in fact, it’s one of the most revolutionary advancements in history as a whole. An article from ABC News explains that “clean water and sanitation have likely saved millions — perhaps billions — of lives since they were widely implemented in the 19th century.” For centuries, infant mortality was at a staggering 15 percent in the United States—and the main reason was due to a lack of clean water.
We now know that dirty water and poor sanitation are entirely detrimental to health, but for many years, this was not the case. Figuring out ways to access clean water and reroute dirty water is one of the most crucial developments in medical history.
How does going in for a surgical procedure with uncleaned and used medical instruments sound? It might not be a super colloquial term (unlike its more familiar counterpart, “antiseptic”), but antisepsis was another invaluable medical development. The process of creating a sterile (bacteria-free) surgical environment, antisepsis began to significantly lower the rates of post-operative infection and death.
People throughout history had some surprising insights and intuitions regarding antisepsis, even before the existence of bacteria was known. In the 1200s, a surgeon by the name of Theodoric suggested dipping dressings in wine to stop pus from developing—not too far off from the use of rubbing alcohol today. Take a step back even further and you’ll find the Greeks using wine and vinegar in dressings in the 5th century BCE, as well as Persians noting the importance of storing drinking water in copper vessels.
With renowned scientist Louis Pasteur’s work regarding bacteria, doctors began to have some much-needed knowledge about sterilization. In the 19th century, Joseph Lister began studying the healing of wounds with a microscope, and discovered that microorganisms were causing infection. By using carbolic acid and multiple dressings, he was successful in preventing infection, and we still rely on the foundations of Lister’s knowledge to this day. When it comes to surgical procedures and rates of survival, antisepsis was a complete game-changer.
“Fun” Fact: Before Lister’s work, the rate of mortality for an amputation was 40 to 45 percent!
Very few people enjoy getting shots, but through vaccinations, millions of lives have been saved. Like with antisepsis, people throughout history have demonstrated an intuitive idea towards vaccination. This is kind of surprising, because who would actively think to expose someone to a sickness?
The Chinese were one of the first to take this on, exposing smallpox inoculation around the 11th century. Many years later, Edward Jenner made his claim to scientific fame by manipulating cowpox in order to build immunity to smallpox. The polio vaccine, as well as vaccinations for tetanus, typhus, and diphtheria are reasons enough for why vaccinations were monumental. This was essential not only as an all-around medical development, but also because moves were being made towards prevention—an incredibly underestimated and hard-to-achieve aspect of medicine.
As great as swigging some alcohol and gritting your teeth into a piece of wood sounds, we’d go ahead and guess that everyone is thankful for the development of anesthesia for medical procedures. The idea of getting a root canal without any pain medication, anesthesia, or numbing sounds frightful—imagine getting a bone set or a bullet removed.
In 1846, William Morton started some developments with ether, a gas that could basically knock people out during any type of medical procedure. Anesthesia continued to be safely developed during the 19th and 20th centuries, and the entire world—whether they realized it or not—was grateful.
Childbirth and Birth Control
For every single person alive on the planet today, we would not have been here if it weren’t for midwives throughout history. It’s insane to think about, but until the 20th century, doctors and those who studied medicine essentially had no experience or scientific study on childbirth. The results were rather catastrophic, for even though midwives often did an exceptional job (and are the reason humanity has continued), virtually no resources, money, formal studies or time were granted towards women’s health. As a result, the death rate for childbearing women was at some points as high as 1-1.5 percent—one out of every 100 women died during childbirth.
What’s even crazier is that doctors, due to their lack of knowledge, were actually the reason wealthier women died from childbirth more frequently in the 20th century than lower class women—all because those without money couldn’t afford a doctor, and instead relied on the expertise of midwives who had been doing this job since the beginning of time.
Considering we need childbirth and women’s health to continue existing as a population, it was with absolute necessity and relief that the 20th century saw, for the first time, male doctors and medical professionals dedicating time and research to women’s health. Discovering, diagnosing, and treating preeclampsia, performing caesarean sections, providing proper nutrition to help sustain the health of both the fetus and the mother—these medical developments saved countless lives, and continue to do so today.
Conversely, medical birth control was an equally important development, because it created a safer and effective manner for women to take control of their fertility. In not-so-ancient times, drinking lead and mercury was just one example of women trying to figure out how to prevent pregnancy. Considering the dangers of childbirth, it’s no surprise that women were actively trying any means necessary to keep from getting pregnant.
The birth control pill was not only a medical development, but a social revolution. The Pill, as it became so widely referred to, was first approved by the FDA in the 1960s, yet could only be legally distributed to married couples until 1972. While there continues to be debate as to whether a woman should have a right to decide if she wants to carry a child, the Pill offered a safer means to delay or prevent having children.
There are countless medical developments that have occurred throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, each of them carrying astronomical impacts for us all. In 1932, the world saw another medical development with the introduction of Surgilube’s surgical lubricant. This eased numerous medical processes, from catheter insertion to pelvic examinations and everything in between. To this day, medical practitioners utilize our surgical lubricant for procedures in nearly countless capacities.
You can count on the brand that doctors and surgeons have relied on for over 80 years. For medical professionals who already use our surgical lubricant, we are incredibly grateful for your loyalty. And for anyone on the fence about starting with Surgilube, we’d love to connect with you. Learn more through our brochure, or contact our company to get any questions answered.