Monday, 18 February 2019

10 Horrifying Medical Procedures from the Past

Blood Letting. People used to believe that the reason why you’re sick is because you’re full of humors. You will then be cut on the skin to allow blood to flow out of the body which would get rid of the humors, and you would begin to feel better.
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Leeches. Leeches were used as an alternative to bloodletting. The leeches would suck the blood from your body to rid it of elements that are causing you pain. No matter where you were feeling pain, that’s where the leeches would be placed. No. Matter. Where.
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Tranquilizing Chair. These were used as a form of shock therapy to cure people of insanity. It was believed that if you are diagnosed as insane, all you need to do is set on the chair and let the insanity be shock out of you. There was even a bucket placed underneath the chair to catch the insanity. Yes, that doesn’t sound insane at all.
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Malaria for fevers. Patients with fever were given malaria. Doctors believe that the malaria would kill whatever virus or bacteria causing the fever. Unfortunately, many patients died because of malaria. Somehow, the fever was a better idea.
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DDT Delousing. This was very popular because it was actually effective in killing lice. But people at the time didn’t know that DDT could actually give them cancer.
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The Iron Lung. Used in may monster movies, the iron lung was just another one of the many horrifying procedures from the past. When people couldn’t breath on their own, they’d be put in the iron lung and it will breath for them. Some people were even confined in these machines for years!
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Radiation injections were given to treat cases of acne and other ailments but because of the limited resources in the 1960s, little was known about radiation. This ultimately caused people to get way worse than when they first entered the hospital. Sometimes these injections were even given in the forehead.
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Soothing syrups were something that parents would use to sooth a child that would not stop crying. Little did those parents know that these syrups were filled with narcotics, some even containing 65 milligrams of morphine. If you ever wondered why they worked, now you know.
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Lobotomies are arguably the most feared and gruesome of the medical procedures. Doctors used to think that if you stuck an ice pick through the eye and into the brain, it could cure any mental problem. We now know that it is not the case but you would be interested to know that this procedure is still practiced in some parts of the world.
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Trepanation is possibly the oldest of many horrifying medical procedures and it involves the act of drilling into someone’s head in order to get rid of their migraines and stop seizures. Although it would seem to get rid of them, it was simply due to the fact that a hole was now inside of your head.
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  1. Awesome write-up. I’m a regular visitor of your site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I’ll be a regular visitor for a really long time.
    Tony Daniloo

  2. Iron lung was not a horror allowed polio patients to survive

    1. If you consider lying in a metal tube for the rest of your life (20 - 40 years) "surviving". Speak for yourself, but that would for me be horrifying.

    2. Polio. Your diaphragms are paralyzed. No way to breathe on your own. You go ahead and waive off this iron lung contraption and soffocate to death in a minute or two. But that's far better than living for another few decades in it? Okay, it's your call. Bye bye!

  3. DDT, in and of itself, could only traceably trigger cancer if over-applied or allowed to be ingested or injected - and it was NEVER intended to be used AT ALL to "dust-down" humans; it was intended to be used to kill-off the mosquitoes and their larvae that were the primary disease vectors that spread malaria.

    Do some actual research on this, and you will find this to be true...

    1. No kidding. DDT was banned despite the evidence, not because of it.

      "...without even reading the testimony or attending the hearings, EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus overruled the EPA hearing officer and banned DDT. He later admitted that he made the decision for “political” reasons"

    2. An iron lung saved my brother's life. He has been healthy for nearly 70 years since.

    3. Yep. Hundreds of millions dead from malaria because we panicked over DDT.

  4. You listed 10 things, and gave incorrect information in EVERY SINGLE ONE. That’s pretty impressive all by itself. I don’t think even Matt Yglesias is this stupid.

    I award this article 740 milliKohns.

  5. Giovanna Romanato in Italy, died 2/21/19 after more than 60 years in an artificial lung. She could leave it about 1/2 day every day thanks to a new respiratory mask, but no movements possible because effects of polio. If you can read Italian, please see her page at