BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 3324

Challenges to the use of surgery as a cure

Challenges to the use of surgery as a cure
Key Info
  • Challenges to the use of surgery as a cure
  • Duration: 03:25
  • In the early to mid 20th century, major surgery was used to treat illness, for example the routine removal of tonsils in children or using surgery to treat stomach ulcers. Doctors saw surgery as the best possible treatment; the alternative would be patients taking pills for the rest of their lives. The film profiles the work of Dr Barry Marshall and Dr Robin Warren who researched stomach ulcers, arguing they were caused by bacteria in the stomach and so should be treated with antibiotics. This challenged the long-held view that bacteria could not grow in the stomach and that surgery was the best treatment for illness.
  • Credits: Huntley Film Archives
  • Subject:



    Medicine Through Time

  • Keywords: surgery, barry marshall, robin warren, stomach ulcers, tonsils, surgeon, 20th century, research and development, bacteria, stomach, antibiotics
Ideas for use in class
  • To prompt students to explore past societies who practised similar techniques, i.e. using curatives as opposed to surgery, to help students find similarities between their own world and the past. It could also be used to challenge the view that herbal medicine and 'wise women' etc were not as clever or good as modern treatment.
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 4x3

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