Thursday, 26 April 2012

...A Little Medical History.

Lately I've been pondering what people will be laughing at us for 100 years from now. For instance: In 1910 it was thought Halley's Comet would kill all humans as the nitrogen from its tail would mix with the oxygen in the atmosphere making nitrous oxide and we would all die from laughing, literally. To study the Doppler Effect they put a marching band on a train and measured the pitch as it approached. It all seems silly now, but it was high tech science at the time. I think in the future they'll be baffled by the size of the Large Haldron Collider as most kids will probably build them for science fairs. I think life before the internet will be compared to life before discovering fire. Even now kids are saying this.

I laughed at this at the time. But my parents bought one anyway.
In the early 1900s doctors lost a lot of patients by a lack of blood. They could fix the wound but the body itself couldn't replace the blood quick enough. This led to the first blood transfusions and you want to know how they did it? They would just sew blood vessels of the donor and the receiver together right out in the open. Plus they didn't quite know how to sew them together evenly so blood would just be squirting all over the place and doctors just hoped some would transfer. Plus....they didn't know about blood types yet so most of the patients died anyway.

Blood brothers.
Another problem was organ removal. Doctors would need to get behind a healthy organ in order to fix the injured one. Problem is, they didn't know how to keep blood flowing to it to keep it healthy enough to be put back in. Eventually someone invented an artificial pump, called a perfusion pump, and everything was ok (sort of. The device was far from perfect but it paved the way for better versions and many lives were saved). The man who invented it? Charles Lindbergh.

Good thing he avoided the Bermuda Triangle....I'm looking at you Amelia.
And that is what I learned today.

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