Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bleeding-Medieval Medicine at its Worst

Bleeding (or bloodletting) was the most common medical treatment of the Middle Ages, it was also 100% worthless! The basic idea of the day was that by removing blood from an ill person the body would produce new blood that was "untainted" by illness and the victim-patient would soon be cured. Needless to say the procedure did little more than to make the person weaker and faint.  Bleeding was so ingrained into medical thinking, it was still being praticed by doctors in the 1860's. 

An interesting side fact is that in the Middle Ages the village barber was also the main man to go to to be bled as the barber had the sharpest knives needed to cut the veins. The now traditional red and white poles outside of barber shops are said to have come from the way the barbers would place their blood stained towels outside to dry after a successful bleeding.

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