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History

19th-century doctors

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The 19th century was a time of great change for doctors. They started the century able to do very little for their patients, and ended it with a far greater understanding of disease, how to prevent it, and how to help patients through it.

Summary

The 19th century saw great advances in the practice of medicine.

In 1800, the doctor may have been a friend of the rich, but many doctors themselves were poor. They could do little to heal disease, and their main role was to provide comfort and reassurance. As the century progressed, however, so did the role of doctors.

  • 1803 Thomas Percival wrote the first book on medical behaviour.
  • 1823 The first issue of the the medical journal the 'Lancet' was published.
  • 1832 The British Medical Association was formed.

By 1900, doctors and surgeons occupied a highly respected place in society. They provided treatment increasingly through hospital provision, and in certain situations were able to heal their patients with surgery.

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