‘Empire of the Scalpel’ is the story of the cut: Shots

Empire of the Scalpeland Ira Rutkow

Simon & Schuster


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Empire of the Scalpeland Ira Rutkow

Simon & Schuster

Did the people of the Stone Age perform brain surgery? Historian Ira Rutkow cites evidence that they did.

“There are many types of skull bones that date back to the Neolithic period and they have valleys where parts of the skull have been opened up,” Rutkow said.

There is no written account of Stone Age neurosurgery, but Rutkow believes a shaman led him to comatose patients and other injuries. In addition, he said, physical evidence showed the survival of some diseases: “With so many of these old skull bones, new bones have grown, and can be made into bone in the skull if the patient is alive, ”he said.

Rutkow was a physician himself. Her new book, Empire of the Scalpel, See the history of the barber, from the days when barbers did most of the work and patients died in large numbers, to today’s high -tech industries that use robots with working intelligence.

He said that, in hindsight, it was important to remember the body of knowledge found at a particular point in history – and not to severely punish the doctors of the past.

“People write about health history and they say,‘ Oh, that’s bad, ’or‘ Doctors did bad things, ’” he said. “We have to remember all the time, what I’ve written in the past, it’s supposed to be the nature of time … I want to think 200 years from now. Some people look at what we are doing today and say, ‘Son, what they are doing is evil. How can they treat people like that?’ “

Highlights of the interview

In four cases of re -cutting

In order to do a good and safe cutting job, there are four things that are more important than the others, more important than the mechanistic things you need to do a job. And this is an understanding of human anatomy. The physician must have a driver’s license. They need to know where things are. The second is the control of the blood. If there was blood going on during the process, that road map, that road was flowing with water and the doctor couldn’t see anything. The third is disease. They need to think about how to reduce the pain in patients. And the fourth is antisepsis. Therefore, these four factors need to be identified – anatomy, bleeding, anesthesia and antisepsis. They need to be corrected and they need to be dealt with.

The four, when they come in, are very important. But we’ve changed a lot in the last 20 to 25 years, which is the ambulatory cut, where you have to go home hours after work. [and] many procedures are performed through small incisions and laparoscopic correction, where through the tubes they are inserted into and the patient can be seen with a machete. This is a big change and a change in cutting like everything else that has been done in the past.

In medicine there is a low status in the old societies

In ancient times, in Rome, Greece, the Middle East and Hammurabi, surgeons were regularly examined. The priests / doctors were considered the intelligent elite at the time, and they looked down on the worker with their hands. In fact, what you and I think are doctors, they are what they do with their hands: cut a lump or remove a bunion. Thatʻs the way it is cut. But there is this very humbling feeling in those who work with their hands, who work with their hands. And what has happened over time is that this kind of humiliation will change. But that didn’t change until the 20th century.

It’s about the Church’s efforts to cut through the Middle Ages

The Church really began to care for those beginning in the Middle Ages. What happened at that time was that the monks were kept in the monasteries. We’re talking about conservation, we’re thinking about the 21st century, and there was nothing like it then. But the monks were around and they gave care that they could do to each person. At the same time, there were men, mostly men, who worked with the monks. They were called ʻū. They burned the monks. They cut their hair. And as time went on, these cutters were able to make more cuts. Nowadays, amputation is, of course, the cutting of a shell or shooting a sore or cutting off a sore finger. It wasn’t a cut, as you and I saw today.

Ira Rutkow is a senior physician and medical historian.

Simon & Schuster


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Simon & Schuster


Ira Rutkow is a senior physician and medical historian.

Simon & Schuster

They kept the scalpels that were sitting at that time. The barber / surgeons were the ones who agreed to the continuity and progress. They are not educated. They passed on their traditions and their knowledge into the family, from son to son, father to son. And this continued for hundreds of years, of course, until the Renaissance, until the 16th century.

In bloodshed

They will cut the root and let the blood flow and they will harvest it. And they collected a lot of blood from each person. We’re talking about ten ounces, ten, 20, 30, 40 ounces at a time. The effect of the bleeding was on many people. So how did these things start? In ancient Greece, there was an idea that all human diseases developed around the so -called four bile: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood. And they think that they need to be balanced so they don’t get sick. And they believed that blood should be removed from the body. And so the bloodshed increased in Greece. In fact, the bloodshed continued until the beginning of the 20th century.

When President James Garfield died in 1881 after suffering a gunshot wound (by his own doctors)

The doctors came on horseback. They come to ride. The necks of the chariots were wrapped around the horses, and the necks were on the earth, as it were, for thousands of years. The soil is filled with horse manure and other bacteria. Doctors do not know better. They take the neck. Hands covered in manure. They go to see Garfield. The first doctor took his finger and put it down into the hole where the bullet went and began to see him to see if he could see the bullet. Now, of course, in doing that, he puts bacteria, a huge amount of bacteria, into Garfield’s wound. He did not wash his hands. So this continued for about 80 days with doctors coming and examining Garfield. Ancient physicians did not wash their hands. Garfield creates these large tumors in his body that can lead to sepsis, a disease, as you might expect.

For advances in the robotic industry

The robotic industry is increasing its flexibility and its ability to perform tasks. Nowadays, robotics are used because they are so precise in their movement that they can penetrate cracks and corners and other places that the human hand cannot penetrate. crazy. Now, keep in mind that robots are now controlled to some degree by humans. They sat at the police station watching what was happening. Someone had to take care of the robot because if something went wrong, they had to take care of the situation without the robot. Although I read the other day at Johns Hopkins, my alma mater, they just invented or were making a cutting robot that no human should have. So we’re moving towards that kind of endeavor, where you get robots that are designed using AI, smart knowledge, they can do these things by themselves. Now, are you scared? Yes. To work? I think it works.

Lauren Krenzel and Joel Wolfram created and edited this interview for publication. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Laurel Dalrymple turned it on for the site.

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