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Why were renaissance doctors unable to cure the plague or syphilis? Find out in this video.

Renaissance surgery and treatment

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Key points

  • Methods of treatment in the Early Modern Age did not change from the Medieval period.
  • People thought they could cure the plague with;
    • leeches
    • sherry
    • posies
    • dried toad
    • perfume
    • the word abracadabra written in a triangle
    • a lucky hare's foot
    • or pressing a plucked chicken against the plague-sores until the chicken died.
  • In 1796, Edward Jenner discovered that vaccination could prevent disease. He found that infecting people with cowpox protected them from getting smallpox.
  • In 1536 Paré discovered that wounds healed better if treated with a 'soothing digestive' of egg yolk and rose oil.
  • He also used ligatures to tie arteries during amputations, so patients didn’t bleed to death.
  • Paracelsus improved surgical practise. He discovered that laudanum was a painkiller, but as it was a derivative of opium, many people became addicted to it.

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