Pare’s contribution to medicine

Ambroise Pare was a French war surgeon who worked in a number of public hospitals and helped many times on the battlefields, giving him ‘war wound’ knowledge. He lived between 1510 and 1590. Before Ambroise Pare, soldiers who received a gunshot wound during battle were prone to a lot of pain and suffering. Wounds were burnt with red hot iron called a cautery or would be filled with boiling oil. All doctors knew this was a very painful action but didn’t know any different ways to treat the wounds.

This is shown by the picture in source two. Source one shows what actually happened when Pare discovered the improved method for treating gunshot wounds. It tells us that there were many issues to the success of the discovery. The issues include chance, war and printing. It also shows how he thought that the oil and the cautery did actually work. The written source shows that the war was a great help for the discovery. He was working on the battlefield so he could try his new discovery on the patients of the war.

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Without him running out of oil on the battle field Pare would not have had to make up the remedy of egg yolks, oil of roses and turpentine. The printing helped him spread his knowledge around and let other people know his new method. ‘Anaesthetics alone led to major progress in surgery in the nineteenth century. ‘ Do you agree? Explain you answer.  Anaesthetics make surgery pain free and are available in two forms: general, which makes the patient unconscious; and local which numbs an area of the body. Before anaesthetics there were a number of problems.

Surgery was limited to amputations as infection couldn’t be stopped and operations had to extremely quick. Due to the high risk of infection deep internal operations were out of the question and many people died due to the trauma of pain. Some people said the pain was as bad as being like a criminal preparing for an execution. The fear of surgery was immense which meant both patients and surgeons suffered with stress. Operations before anaesthetics had no hygiene measures and ordinary equipment, like outdoor saws, were used.

The first form of anaesthetic was by Humphry Davis who made patients inhale nitrous oxide. Crawford Long found out that ether was another useful anaesthetic in 1842. After 1846, the public became more accepted to anaesthetics and on the 21st December Robert Liston successfully amputated a leg using ether in twenty-six seconds, the patient even asked whether they started the operation as it had been totally pain free. In 1847, James Simpson found that chloroform could be used during childbirth, as it didn’t cause inflammation.

Having anaesthetics it meant that surgery could be more widely available. With anaesthetic anything from a sore tooth to a tumour could be removed. It would all be pain free, which meant there was less stress on surgeons to carry out quick operations, and the fear of operations was reduced. As operations could take longer they were more successful and death rates lowered considerably and more complex surgery could be carried out. Although there were many advantages to using anaesthetics there were still a number of disadvantages.

Many doctors didn’t want to use anaesthetics because people had side affects due to the wrong amount being administrated and some people even suffered overdoses. Some surgeons were also seen as too inexperienced to use it as they had to be so careful about the dosage. Although the fear of surgery had reduced, many people were now scared because during the whole operation, their lives were in the hands of the doctors and so couldn’t stop the surgery until the surgeon wanted to.

Although a wider range of surgery could be carried out, there was still no chance of complex heart surgery as the of infection was too high. One of the most important disadvantages of anaesthetics was that no antiseptics had been formed and because longer, deeper surgery was being carried out there was a greater risk of infection. It has been shown that anaesthetics alone did not lead to major progress in surgery.

Without antiseptics which stop infection, anaesthetics are not useful as patients are likely to die of infection, and so, antiseptics are useless without anaesthetics as antiseptics don’t relieve pain. Antiseptics are really more important because although during surgery anaesthetics were a ‘dream come true’, antiseptics made sure that the wound was no longer infected. There were many years when there were no antiseptics but a lot of anaesthetics. This led to people not dying from shock from the operation but from the infection from the machinery.