Health Team Relations Period: 04
Health and medicine in the Middle ages (Dark ages) were very important aspects of life. For many peasants in Medieval England, disease and poor health were part of their daily lives. Medicines were both basic and often useless. Towns and cities were filthy and knowledge of hygiene was nonexistent. The black death being a major complication of that era killed 2/3rds or England’s population between 1348 and 1350. No one knew what caused diseases then. There was no knowledge of germs. Peasants had been taught by the church that any illness was a punishment from the God for sinful behavior. Therefore, any illness was selfimposed. Other theories put forward for diseases included “humours”. It was believed that the body had four humours (fluids in our bodies) and if these became unbalanced you became ill. Doctors studied a patient’s urine to determine if there was any unbalance. Physicians were viewed as skilled people, but their work was based on a very poor knowledge of the human anatomy. Experiments on dead bodies were unheard and strictly forbidden. They charged for their services and only wealthy people could afford them. Their cures were bizarre, including bleeding and the use of herbs. It had some logic to them even if ti was a very “hitormiss” approach. One of the most famous physicians was John Arderne who wrote “The Art of Medicine” and who treated royalty. He was considered a master in his field. His cure for kidney stones was a hot plaster smeared with honey and pigeon poop.
Heather Kellner ...
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