With all the advances made in medicine over the last 50 or 60 years, it’s easy to forget that life wasn’t so rosy for those with health problems a couple of generations ago. Certain treatments were worse than the ailments they were meant to treat! These 15 photos give us a glimpse of a bygone era. Be happy you were born in this age!
1. A nurse is hiding under this strange bucket with floppy ears. This suit from 1918 was designed to protect from X-rays.
2. Until the 19th century, surgery was performed without any anesthesia. In this pic from 1885 the patient was lucky to be put out with ether before having his leg amputated.
3. These orphans from Chicago are receiving a dose of artificial sun during the legendary winter of 1925. At the time it was one of the best treatments for rickets.
4. In 1920 physiotherapy was slightly different.
5. An advertisement from 1885 for toothache drops containing cocaine.
6. This wheeled torture device dates back to 1878. It was used to treat scoliosis.
7. These living mummies are patients in a psychiatric ward. They were wrapped in humid blankets to keep them calm.
8. In 1890 heroin was all the rage as a cough syrup. A little extreme, wouldn’t you say?
9. This old box isn’t a radio with two spoonfuls of ice cream — it’s an old defibrillator from the 40s !
10. This weird looking contraption is an iron lung from the year 1950. Given that polio affected respiratory muscles, these machines were the only things keeping these kids alive. In some cases they were kept in the device for years.
11. This peculiar-looking glass houses one of early medicine’s secret weapons: leeches, a popular cure-all until the 19th century.
12. This unfortunate woman suffered from scoliosis. This suspension system was meant to allow the doctor to “inspect” how twisted her back is.
13. This remedy from 1928 called “eternal sunshine” consists of irradiated water. At the time it was considered delicious and healthy.
14. This chair dating back to 1750 was designed for birthing. Apparently the back is adjustable, so that’s nice.
15. This old prosthesis from 1890 looks surprisingly futuristic, although its functionality is very limited.
These old photos really make you appreciate the advances of modern medicine. Thank goodness scientists are always looking for ways to make our lives better!
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