By Jonathan Reinarz and Kevin Siena (eds)
Ailments affecting the surface have tended to impress a reaction of specific horror in society. With seen and occasionally repellant outward symptoms of illness, they have been frequently gave the impression to be hugely contagious, in addition to synonymous with immorality. Such connotations can have stemmed from the tell-tale buboes of syphilis, however the social stigma of disfigurement is whatever that also exists this day. This number of essays makes use of case stories to chart the scientific historical past of epidermis from the eighteenth to the 20 th century.
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Extra info for A Medical History of Skin: Scratching the Surface
He was trying to establish a middle ground in a heated debate that had been raging for six years, involving two major surgeons, M. 67 Kirkland had been Pott’s pupil, but like most good students did not agree with everything his teacher proposed. Bilguer opposed amputation in nearly every injury, while Pott recommended amputation when gangrene first appeared or was likely. As part of Kirkland’s argument that amputation was only necessary when mortification arose from a gangrenous disposition of the juices versus from a local and external injury, he gave a detailed explanation of how the skin reacts to wounding.
Radesyge was not only a disease detrimental to the patients’ health and function. 5 As the physical health of the population was considered a relevant factor for economic management in the absolutist state of the twin realms Denmark–Norway, measures were taken at a public level. It is thus not coincidental that the patients’ restoration of working capacity led the narrator in the story above to rejoice. The engagement with radesyge as a threat to the nation is also evident in one of the first written statements concerning this Abominable Ulcers, Open Pores and a New Tissue 33 new disease – a 1769 letter to the Danish king from the district commander (stiftsamtmann) in Christiansand diocese,6 Hans Hagerup: In recent years, a ‘saltzfluss’-like, contagious disease, ruining the country, has begun to infect the commons in this district.
How did a wound heal? What kind of wounds should a surgeon treat, and what should he leave alone as necessarily fatal? What was an abscess? What treatments were available for skin wounds, and what were the challenges and controversies surrounding them? Did early modern surgeons discuss pain control, or is this, as some historians have claimed, a modern concern? And what can all of this tell us about the history of skin? 13 Many of the surgical cases in mid- to late eighteenth-century London came to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, one of the English capital’s seven teaching hospitals.
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