Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Civil War Medicine Timeline: The Backstory (1553 - 1859)

Have you ever wondered how modern medicine evolved? How did doctors diagnose illness before MRI’s and X-rays came into use? When were microscopes invented, anyway? Is it true that vaccinating is an old practice? When did it start? When was the stethoscope
invented? Did Civil War doctors have hypodermic needles? When did surgeons first begin to use anesthesia for operations? Was anesthesia used by surgeons in the Civil War? How about veterinarians—when did they first study health care for animals? What were the origins of Neurology? When were the first nursing schools established? Did mid-19th century physicians perform blood transfusions? When was an ambulance corps approved by Congress? See the progression as medicine transformed from an “art” to a “science” . . .

Spanish physician, theologian and humanist Miguel Serveto accurately describes the function of pulmonary circulation, the circulation of blood through the lungs. He is condemned by Catholics and Protestants, and burned at the stake as a heretic.

Dr. Guilluame Bailou of France creates the first known description of whooping cough, based on his observations.

Brothers Hans and Zacharias Janssen, Dutch lens grinders, construct the first microscope by placing two lenses inside a tube.

Professor at the University of Padua and pioneer in surgery and anatomy Girolamo Fabrizio (also known as Hieronymus Fabricius or Girolamo Fabrizi d’Acquapendente) designs the first permanent theater for public anatomical dissections.

Girolamo Fabrizio discovers that leg veins have valves that allow blood to flow only to the heart.

William Harvey publishes Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis In Animalibus or An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals. He describes the circulatory system: how the heart pumps blood throughout the body, returns to the heart and recirculates.

Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac found the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, Servants of the Sick Poor. The community went outside of a convent to nurse the poor in their homes.

Jeanne Mance of Montreal establishes North America’s first hospital, Hotel-Dieu.

In France, the Sisters of Charity care for the wounded on the battlefields at Sedan and Arras.

Sir Christopher Wren experiments with canine blood transfusions in London.

The houses of the Sisters of Charity now number more than 40 in France, with several more in other European countries. The Sisters tend to the sick poor in the own dwellings in 26 parishes in Paris.

The microscope is refined by Anton van Leeuwenhoek. He creates almost 500 models and discovers blood cells. He also observes plant and animal tissues and microorganisms.

Queen Mary II of England dies of smallpox. Over the next decade, the death toll from smallpox in Europe was more than 60 million.

Venetian physician Giacomo Pylarini gives the first smallpox inoculation, known as “variolation”, outside of Turkey. The practice was widely known in the east before then.

British minister Cotton Mather learns of the practice of variolation from his African-born slave, Onesimus.

The mercury thermometer is invented by Gabriel Fahrenheit.

Lady Mary Mortley Montagu, the wife of the British Ambassador to Turkey, has her son inoculated against smallpox. This may have been the first inoculation of a European. Against major opposition, Lady Montagu worked to promote the practice in England.

During a smallpox epidemic in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, encouraged by Reverend Cotton Mather, inoculates his 6-year-old son, his slave and his slave’s son. Each contracted a mild case of the disease, then recovered fully. Angry citizens denounced the practice at first, but Boylston later vaccinated thousands of Massachusetts residents.

The compressive bandage to stop bleeding from wounds is introduced.

Primae lineae physiologiae by Albrecht von Haller, Switzerland, is the first textbook on physiology.

Benjamin Robins, an English military engineer, addresses the Royal Society on the physics of a spinning projectile.

In England, James Lind publishes his Treatise of the Scurvy, which states that citrus fruits prevent the disease.

The Philadelphia Academy is founded. It will later evolve to become the University of Pennsylvania.

Sign language for deaf-mutes is invented by Portuguese Giacobbo Rodriguez.

The first mental asylums are established in London.

Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning conductor.

James Lind, British naval surgeon, publishes his classic work on the treatment and prevention of scurvy by the use of citrus fruits.

The first female M.D. is graduated from the University of Halle, Germany.

The Moroccan Army’s head nurse/matron, Rabia Choraya, travels with Braddock’s army during the French and Indian War. She was considered the most respected woman in the army and was the highest-paid.

Medical doctor B.G. Morgagni publishes On the Causes of Diseases in Bologna. It is regarded as the beginning of pathological anatomy.

First veterinary facility in Europe is established after centuries of wars, disease epidemics, livestock plagues and food shortages.

The first successful appendectomy is performed by Claudius Aymand.

The first medical school in America opens at the College of Pennsylvania.

English surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon draw the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Mason-Dixon Line. It later separates the slave and free regions.

Joseph Priestly publishes The History and Present State of Electricity.

Italian physician and physicist Luigi Galvani performs the first experiments with bioelectricity: the relationship of electrical patterns and the nervous system.

New York Hospital is founded.

The Paris Faculty of Medicine declares potatoes to be an edible food.

English theologian and philosopher Joseph Priestley identifies oxygen, nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, ammonia,  and hydrogen chloride.

American engineer David Bushnell invents the torpedo.

The American Continental Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes as its flag.

The first Children’s Clinic is established in London.

The American Academy of Sciences is established in Boston. Medicine is still considered to be an “art”.

A slave from New Orleans, Dr. James Durham, purchases his freedom with money he earned working as a nurse, and begins his own medical practice. Durham had been the slave of several doctors, who trained him to work with patients.

English botanist geologist, chemist and physician William Withering publishes An Account of the Foxglove, the first systematic description of administering digitalis in the treatment of dropsy.

New York is declared the federal capital of the United States.

Former slave Dr. James Durham, age 26, is invited to Philadelphia to meet Dr. Benjamin Rush. Rush was impressed by Durham’s success in treating diphtheria patients and personally read Durham’s paper on diphtheria before the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania becomes the federal capital of the United States.

Washington, D.C. is founded.

German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann in Germany decries the practice of bloodletting and founds the field of homeopathy.

Vermont becomes a state of the U.S.

Kentucky becomes a state of the U.S.
The world’s first chemical society is founded in Philadelphia.

The United States Navy is founded.

The first elite military medical schools are established in Paris and Berlin.

Based on James Lind’s 1753 findings, lemon and lime water for the prevention and treatment of scurvey, was stocked aboard all British naval vessels.

Tennessee becomes a state of the U.S.

English physician Edward Jenner introduces a vaccination to protect against smallpox by exposing people to the cowpox virus. He observed that dairy maids who had caught “cowpox” seemed immune to smallpox. He uses a less virulent organism than has previously been administered.

The Department of the Treasury establishes The Marine Hospital Service, authorizing marine hospitals for the care of American merchant seamen.

The Royal College of Surgeons is founded in London.

Sir Humphrey Davy describes the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide, although dentists do not begin using anesthesia for another 45 years.
Eli Whitney invents muskets with interchangeable parts.

German naturalist Gottfried Treviranus coins the term “biology”.

German pharmacist F.W.A. Serturner isolates morphine, an opium alkaloid. 

It was named for Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams.

Ohio becomes a state of the U.S.

American Robert Fulton propels a boat by steam power.

English inventor Henry Shrapnel invents the shell.

Rockets, which were originally created by William Congreve, are reintroduced as weapons in the British Army.

The medicinal pill-making machine is invented
Charles Bell publishes his System of Comparative Surgery.

Homeopathy is introduced by physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann in Germany in his Organon of Therapeutics.

After the battle of Waterloo, in present-day Belgium, it takes ten days to gather and treat the wounded. It is Napoleon’s last battle.

Physician Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec of France invents the stethoscope to examine the sounds made by the heart and lungs.

Indiana becomes a state of the U.S.

In New Orleans, Louisiana, the Creole Societe Medicale de la Nouvelle-New Orleans is founded. All transactions were in French.

The first successful transfusion of human blood is performed by British obstetrician James Blundell.

Nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln is kicked in the head by a horse. For a brief period he was thought to be dead. As he grew, the left side of Lincoln’s face remained considerably smaller than the right side. Some researchers believe this injury may have been the cause of his developmental defect, hemifacial microsomia, although there are other causes for the condition.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln, 34, mother of Abraham Lincoln dies on October 5 during an outbreak of “milk sickness”. It is caused by Eupatorium rugosum, or “white snakeroot”. The milk of cattle that have eaten the plant can pass the toxin on to humans.

John Hall is manufacturing breech-loading rifles at Harpers Ferry, VA
In New Orleans, Louisiana, an English-speaking medical society, the Physio-Medical Society, is established.

A hospital is opened in Petersburg, Virginia, by former slave Jensey Snow.

A building with an apothecary is erected in New Orleans by Louis Joseph Dufilho, Jr., America’s first licensed pharmacist.  It houses today’s Historical Pharmacy Museum.

“The Lancet”, the British medical journal, is founded.

The Medical College of South Carolina is founded in Charleston.

A Treatise on the Diseases of the Eye is published by Dr. George Frick, the leading oculist in Baltimore, Maryland. This was the first American book on ophthalmology.

The forerunner of the ophthalmoscope was created by Dr. E.G. Loring of Baltimore. It had sixteen lenses mounted on a rotating dist. Concave and plane mirrors were attached.

Justus von Liebig begins the studies he called “animal chemistry” at Giessen, Germany. He later renames the field “organic chemistry”; it is now called “biochemistry”.

First North American cholera epidemic.

Pierre Segalas invents the endoscope, a tubular optical instrument for examining the interior of a body cavity or hollow organ.

The mineral Thorium is discovered and subsequently used for dental fillings. In 1898 it was found to be radioactive.

A Medical Department is established at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The breechloading needle gun is invented by J.N, von Drayse.
British chemist James Smithson bequeaths L100,000 to found the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

William Burke is hanged in Scotland for murder. He was found to have provided very fresh corpses for anatomy schools in Edinburgh.

Chloroform is introduced into medical practice. It was invented simultaneously by American Samuel Guthrie and German Justus von Liebig. It was administered by inhalation in a solution with spirits of wine called Chloric Ether.

The Anatomy Act is passed in the United Kingdom. This allowed hospitals and workhouses to hand over for dissection bodies that were unclaimed for two days.

Ann Rutledge, reportedly Abraham Lincoln’s first love, dies of “fever” at age 22 during a wave of typhoid.

The Boston Society for Medical Observation is founded.

Samuel Colt takes out an English patent for his single-barreled pistol and rifle.

The first medical periodical in the South, The Southern Medical and Surgical Journal, begins publication.

The Nursing Society of Philadelphia is formed.

The Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New York is established to manufacture and market revolvers and rifles.

Dr. James McCune Smith becomes the first African-American to earn a medical degree, graduating from the University of Glasgow.

Charles Goodyear devises a process to heat India rubber with sulfur, creating vulcanite. The material was used to make denture bases, replacing gold.

The first medical journal in Louisiana, Journal de la Societe Medicale de la Nouvelle-New Orleans is published in French.

Baltimore College of Dentistry in Maryland opens with five students.

Crawford W. Long, an American physician, uses ether as a general anesthetic.

A machine for making pills containing more than one ingredient, or “compound tablets” is invented.

Oliver Wendell Holmes publishes The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever.

American social reformer Dorothea Dix reports to the Massachusetts Legislature on the shockingly bad conditions in prisons and asylums.

U.S. dental surgeon Horace Wells, a pioneer in the use of anesthetics, has nitrous oxide administered to himself for a tooth extraction.

Florence Nightingale continues her nursing education at the Institution of Deaconesses in Kaiserworth, Germany.

Dorothea Dix testifies to the New Jersey state legislature regarding the state’s poor treatment of mentally ill patients.

The hypodermic syringe is introduced.

October 16: Successful demonstration of diethyl ether as an anesthetic at Massachusetts General Hospital by dentist William Thomas Green Morton. The substance had been known since about 1200 A.D.

William Thomas Green Morton publishes the first paper on the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide and the process of using it.

The medical department of the University of Buffalo is founded.

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. is founded.

Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman to enter medical school at Geneva (New York) Medical College.

The American Medical Association is formed by a group of medical school professors who wanted to reform medical education.

January 19: Scottish physician James Simpson, head of obstetrics at Edinburgh, introduces the use of chloroform as an anesthetic.

Ignac Semmelweis develops his theory of puerperal sepsis in Vienna. His observations were not taken seriously by a large audience. It would be another 10 years before Louis Pasteur published his discoveries and even longer before surgeons realized that their ungloved, unwashed hands carried blood, soil, pus, excrement and germs into open wounds.

A report on surgery to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia focused on the uses, power and safety of ether as an anesthetic.

The dental chair is patented by Waldo Hanchett.

Elizabeth Blackwell receives her medical degree in New York, prompting international media coverage. She then went to Paris to study midwifery at La Maternite.

The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, the world’s first women’s medical school, opens in Philadelphia.

The Nursing Society of Philadelphia opens an instructional school.
Florence Nightingale begins her training as a nurse at the Institute of St. Vincent de Paul in Alexandria, Egypt. She would become known as a pioneer of modern nursing.

Edward Baker Lincoln, the three-year-old son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, dies of “chronic consumption” after a 52-day illness. It is thought that the fatal disease was tuberculosis.

German physician Carl Reinhold Wunderlich introduces the practice of taking accurate temperature with a thermometer as a regular part of diagnosis.

California becomes a state of the U.S.

R.W. Bunsen produces the gas burner.

German physician Hermann von Helmholz, who was originally trained as a military surgeon, describes the ophthalmoscope for seeing inside the eye.
The New Orleans Monthly Medical Register begins publication. It later merged with the New Orleans Medical News and Hospital Gazette.

Isaac Singer invents the continuous-stitch sewing machine.
The New York Times appears in September.

World Population statistics in millions:
         China 430
         Germany 34
         France 33
         Great Britain 20.8
         U.S. 23

Dutch surgeon Mathysen impregnates bandages with plaster to create rigid casts.

The Jackson Street Hospital opens in Augusta, Georgia. It is the first institution of record to be established for the care of colored patients. The hospital had 50 beds, operating facilities and a lecture hall. The staff was white.

Wells Fargo & Co. is founded.

Samuel Colt revolutionizes the manufacture of small arms.
The hollow needle is developed by Alexander Wood and the hypodermic syringe by Charles Gabriel Pravaz.

Alexander Wood uses hypodermic syringe for subcutaneous injections.
 Queen Victoria allows chloroform to be administered to her for the birth of her seventh child. This ensures the place of chloroform as an anesthetic in England.

Vaccination against smallpox is made mandatory in England.

Between 8,000 and 9,000 people in New Orleans, Louisiana died of yellow fever. For many years the city suffered an almost annual outbreak of the disease in late summer.

Florence Nightingale goes to Paris to learn the nursing methods of the Order of the Daughters of Charity.

October 21: Florence Nightingale is sent to Turkey with 38 volunteer nurses to assist with caring for the wounded of the Crimean War. She is appointed Superintendent of Nursing Staff.

The “War for Bleeding Kansas” escalates between American free and slave states.

The Republican Party is formed in the U.S.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) introduces hygienic standards into military hospitals during the Crimean War.

May 24-25: Massacre of Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas: slavers are murdered by free-slavers led by abolitionist John Brown. It was one of a series of violent incidents leading to the Civil War, and known as “Bloody Kansas”. 

Former slave Biddy Mason is granted her freedom. She moves to Los Angeles where she works as a successful nurse and midwife.

August 29: Joseph K. Barnes, M.D. is appointed Surgeon/Major, U.S. Army.

In France, Louis Pasteur proves that fermentation is caused by living organisms.

The New York College of Veterinary Surgeons is chartered at New York University.

The British establish a military medical school in the wake of the disaster of the Crimean War.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell establishes the New York Infirmary for Women and Children on Bleeker Street.

French neurologist Paul Broca discovers that specific areas of the brain are specialized for particular functions.

The first group of paid social workers is organized in England by Ellen Ranyard. She pioneers the first district nursing program in London.

Minnesota becomes a state of the U.S.

John Snow, an early English expert on anesthesia, publishes a book on chloroform and other anesthetics.

English anatomist and surgeon Henry Gray publishes his classic textbook, Gray’s Anatomy.

Florence Nightingale publishes “Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration of the British Army”, in which she compares the number of deaths resulting from hospital conditions to the number of deaths attributed to battle wounds.

More than 1200 medical students resided in Philadelphia to study medicine at Jefferson Medical College or the University of Pennsylvania; 650 of them were from the South.

January 25-27: The Battle of Solferino, northern Italy. Approximately 140 doctors were available to treat the 40,000 casualties. The devastation was witnessed by Jean Henri Dunant, a wealthy businessman. Dunant was so deeply affected that he later became one of the founders of the International Red Cross and the primary force behind the meeting of diplomats that became known as the Geneva Convention.

October: Upon receiving news of abolitionist John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, a mass exodus of about 200 Southern medical students left Philadelphia.

Louis Pasteur publishes a paper suggesting that many human and animal diseases are caused by microorganisms.

Florence Nightingale’s influential book, Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not, is published.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell estimates that 300 women had managed to “graduate somewhere” in medicine.

First oil well is drilled at Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Oregon becomes a state of the U.S.

©2011 JAMCO Films. All Rights Reserved.


Thanks, the time line answered some of my questions regarding medical history.

Post a Comment


Facebook Twitter Delicious Stumbleupon Favorites