Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

History

20th-century doctors

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  1. Next

Doctors changed almost beyond recognition during the 20th century. In the early years your doctor was usually a man, with a limited range of medicines and techniques. By the end of the century doctors were as likely to be women as men, with a whole arsenal of pills and treatments to help make you better.

Advances in the practice of medicine

Surgeon scrubbing hands prior to performing an operation

Surgeon scrubbing hands prior to performing an operation

At the beginning of the century local doctors still visited the sick in their homes, usually carrying their sturdy Gladstone bag. Doctors could do little to cure disease, although they had learned some ways of preventing it, and some new techniques of caring for patients.

The modernisation of medicine changed the role of the doctor. Sixty per cent of new doctors are now women. Familiar illnesses, previously dangerous, can often be treated by a course of pills.

Many other diseases now call for the use of expensive technology so, by the end of the century, most medicine was delivered in hospitals (in America in 2002 only 2 per cent of doctor-patient contact took place in the home).

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  1. Next

Back to Modern medicine index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.