By Jeremy Agnew
The therapeutic arts as practiced within the outdated West usually intended the variation among lifestyles and loss of life for American pioneers. even if the problem was once affliction, an Indian arrow, a gunshot wound, or a fall from a horse, a pioneer within the western territories required deal with clinical emergencies, yet usually needed to make do till a physician can be chanced on. This old review addresses the perils to overall healthiness that have been current through the enlargement of the yank frontier, and the tools utilized by medical professionals to regard and triumph over them. a number of black and white images are supplied, in addition to a word list of scientific phrases. Appendices checklist medicinal drugs typical from 1850-1900 and surgical tools present in a customary doctor's equipment of the period.
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Extra info for Medicine in the Old West: A History, 1850-1900
Luckily, many diseases were self-limiting ; that is to say that, given enough time and rest, the body cured itself. All the doctor had to do in these cases was to provide supportive care or some placebo medicine until the patient recovered by himself. Treatment was sometimes delayed either because of the distance to reach the doctor’s ofﬁce or the cost of a visit to the doctor. Though the doctor’s fee might be only ﬁve dollars for a home visit, a fee of a dollar a mile might be added on for travel — perhaps double that at night or in bad weather.
Underneath the table was a “slop jar,” which might be an old ﬁvegallon oil can to receive the dirty water. Women were generally more fastidious than men and tended to at least wash their faces. For women, Victorian reticence and crowded conditions in a small cabin meant that bathing might have to be accomplished while wearing a shift or nightgown, thus making the entire process a somewhat haphazard affair. Until indoor bathrooms with running water became common, some people had never been wet all over from bathing or had taken a bath during their entire lives.
The aroma of privies hung over the town in hot summer weather. Horse manure was everywhere on the streets, with clouds of ﬂies buzzing over it in the summer. Stray dogs and wild animals trotted around, carrying rabies. Hog pens were typically built close to the owner’s house, thus allowing the spread of ﬁlth and disease. 2 Some of this was deliberate. In an attempt to clean up early towns, pigs were occasionally turned loose on the streets to eat accumulated garbage. Unpaved streets were ﬁlled with choking dust in summer and turned into a morass of mud in the winter.