Neurosurgery before Science: Taking a Chance
Jeremy C. Ganz, Author

It has become increasingly clear that it is easy to misunderstand how surgery functioned in the past. It is all too easy to regard our ancestors as less privileged than ourselves, whereas they were probably every bit as intelligent, but with a different set of priorities. This book traces the development of the profession of surgery and the preoccupations and concerns of its practitioners, from Hippocrates to the early nineteenth century. Topics discussed here include the personal characteristics of surgeons and the regulation of the practice of surgery. The study of anatomy and its limitation by political and philosophical taboos is also considered, while common procedures without merit such as bloodletting or trepanning are analysed. The illogical myth of laudable pus is examined in some detail, as are the modern conceptions of surgical infection in times past. The book's main concern is to demonstrate the profession's resistance to new ideas, preferring the comfort of accepted notions even if the evidence confounds them.

Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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