Healthy Living

27 Crazy Images Of Medical Treatments Through History

We forget how young medicine is.
A chest X-ray in progress at Dr. Maxime Menard's radiology department at the Cochin hospital in Paris, circa 1914. Mendard would later lose his finger to side effects from operating the X-ray machine.
A chest X-ray in progress at Dr. Maxime Menard's radiology department at the Cochin hospital in Paris, circa 1914. Mendard would later lose his finger to side effects from operating the X-ray machine.

When Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the X-ray in 1895, the New York Times was so skeptical that the paper referred to the medical breakthrough as the "alleged discovery of how to photograph the invisible."

It also took a long time to figure out how use the technology safely. A French physician, Dr. Maxime Menard, had to have his finger amputated when he developed cancer from frequent exposure to radiation while manning an X-ray machine.

(In a striking juxtaposition to modern medicine, Menard smoked a cigarette while his offending finger was surgically removed.)

We forget how young modern medicine is. The fetal ultrasound wasn't developed until 1959. Penicillin wasn't discovered until 1928. And when the 1918 flu pandemic approached New York City -- less than 100 years ago -- top medical minds were convinced the illness arrived on waves of "bad air."

See how much medical treatments have changed below.

This is what an ambulance looked like in 1881:

A Wiener Ambulance with patients in 'layers' in a horse drawn wooden carriage. The sides are partly open, but have curtains. The ambulance men are members of the Viennese Voluntary Rescue Society founded in 1881.
A Wiener Ambulance with patients in 'layers' in a horse drawn wooden carriage. The sides are partly open, but have curtains. The ambulance men are members of the Viennese Voluntary Rescue Society founded in 1881.

And in 1911:

Dr. Elizabeth Bruyn sits in the rear of her horse drawn ambulance in the United States, circa 1911.
Dr. Elizabeth Bruyn sits in the rear of her horse drawn ambulance in the United States, circa 1911.

Ambulance trains transported wounded soldiers during World War I:

Inside an ambulance train, First World War, 1918.
Inside an ambulance train, First World War, 1918.

The inside of a ambulance train medical office in 1900:

Medical office in a hospital train, circa 1900.
Medical office in a hospital train, circa 1900.

Childbirth in 1939 meant inhaling anesthesia during labor:

In an effort to make childbirth as painless as possible, a patient inhales analgesia during labor whilst a nurse looks over her in July 1939.
In an effort to make childbirth as painless as possible, a patient inhales analgesia during labor whilst a nurse looks over her in July 1939.

And 1939 oxygen masks were one-size-fits-all:

Administering oxygen to a newborn in Berlin, Germany, July 1939.
Administering oxygen to a newborn in Berlin, Germany, July 1939.

The iron lung helped people who couldn't breath on their own in 1938:

A patient lying in an artificial respiration machine called an iron lung, circa 1938.
A patient lying in an artificial respiration machine called an iron lung, circa 1938.

So did a 1938 respiratory jacket:

Nurses practice operating a respiratory jacket that performs a similar function to an iron lung, circa 1938.
Nurses practice operating a respiratory jacket that performs a similar function to an iron lung, circa 1938.

This is what the inside of an oxygen tent looked like in 1937:

A young patient, Gerald Blackburn, in an oxygen tent at Princess Beatrice Hospital, circa 1937.
A young patient, Gerald Blackburn, in an oxygen tent at Princess Beatrice Hospital, circa 1937.

A medicated fog was used to treated cold and flu symptoms in 1929:

A woman using an electric inhaling apparatus which produces a medicated fog used in the treatment of colds and influenza, circa 1929.
A woman using an electric inhaling apparatus which produces a medicated fog used in the treatment of colds and influenza, circa 1929.

Patients inhaled powdered medicines to heal respiratory disease in 1930:

Patients at a hospital in Germany inhaling powdered medicines such as menthol and eucalyptus to heal respiratory diseases, circa 1930.
Patients at a hospital in Germany inhaling powdered medicines such as menthol and eucalyptus to heal respiratory diseases, circa 1930.

What a flu mask looked like in 1919:

A woman wearing a flu mask during the flu epidemic which followed the First World War, 1919.
A woman wearing a flu mask during the flu epidemic which followed the First World War, 1919.

And what an anesthesia machine looked like in 1913:

R. Dubois anesthetizing machine in France, circa 1913.
R. Dubois anesthetizing machine in France, circa 1913.

An early fitness test in 1932:

Lieutenant Radtke presses air into his lungs in a constant height with a mercury column, while the doctor checks his blood presssure, circa 1932.
Lieutenant Radtke presses air into his lungs in a constant height with a mercury column, while the doctor checks his blood presssure, circa 1932.

Sun lamp therapy for children in 1929:

Children using a light bath in Berlin, Germany circa 1929.
Children using a light bath in Berlin, Germany circa 1929.

And for adults in 1930:

A man enjoys a sun-ray lamp, circa 1930.
A man enjoys a sun-ray lamp, circa 1930.

A hip massage machine in 1928:

The new 'hip massage machine' from the United States, circa 1928.
The new 'hip massage machine' from the United States, circa 1928.

People tried to stretch themselves taller in 1931:

Post Office Department Inspector DF Angier (left) and Dr. LF Kebler, formerly of the Food and Drug Administration, try out a stretching device which claimed to increase height by 2 to 6 inches, 1931.
Post Office Department Inspector DF Angier (left) and Dr. LF Kebler, formerly of the Food and Drug Administration, try out a stretching device which claimed to increase height by 2 to 6 inches, 1931.

Getting frostbite and rheumatism therapy in 1910:

A patient recuperating in the spa town of Harrogate is wired up to an electric machine used for the cure of frostbite and rheumatism, circa 1910.
A patient recuperating in the spa town of Harrogate is wired up to an electric machine used for the cure of frostbite and rheumatism, circa 1910.

Electric water baths for better blood circulation in 1938:

A young woman holds her arms and legs in four water bathes with electric current, to improve blood circulation, circa 1938.
A young woman holds her arms and legs in four water bathes with electric current, to improve blood circulation, circa 1938.

Red Cross workers stretch surgical dressings in 1915:

Women operate the new stretching machine for surgical dressing at the Red Cross headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1915. 
Women operate the new stretching machine for surgical dressing at the Red Cross headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1915. 

An X-ray machine that was safer to operate, in 1929:

The modern Roentgen 'look through' machine, which prevents any injury to the treating physician, Frankfurt, Germany, circa 1929.
The modern Roentgen 'look through' machine, which prevents any injury to the treating physician, Frankfurt, Germany, circa 1929.

Developing vaccines in 1917:

Typhoid vaccine at the U.S. Army Medical School, circa 1917.
Typhoid vaccine at the U.S. Army Medical School, circa 1917.

The 1912 version of a hazmat suit:

A doctor wears protective clothing during an outbreak of plague in Manchuria, circa 1912.
A doctor wears protective clothing during an outbreak of plague in Manchuria, circa 1912.

A medical college's dissection room in 1902:

Partially dissected cadavers on tables in the dissecting room at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, circa 1902.
Partially dissected cadavers on tables in the dissecting room at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, circa 1902.

And the ultimate drama, medical theater, also 1902:

Surgeons gather around the operating table in the clinic amphitheater at the Jefferson Medical College Hospital, with spectators and medical students seated in the background, 1902.
Surgeons gather around the operating table in the clinic amphitheater at the Jefferson Medical College Hospital, with spectators and medical students seated in the background, 1902.

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