Here are even more bizarre and wacky medical treatment methods that often caused death instead of cures.
I wrote about scientific breakthroughs and inventions that have ensured the human race’s survival in a previous post. I repeat my question, how often do we thank our Lord for equipping others to make breakthroughs and getting us where we are today?
Lobotomy medical treatment used for a short period
Lobotomy was a medical treatment used to cure mental disorders for a period stretching from the 1940s through the 1950s. In this procedure, they removed the connecting fibers between the central and frontal lobes of the brain. Doctors used a lobotomy drill to make two holes in the skull. Next, they pushed an ice pick-like apparatus through the patient’s eye and then punched it with a hammer. This separated the prefrontal cortex from the other parts of the brain. Not surprisingly, many patients ended up in a vegetative state, and before long, they abandoned this method of treatment.
Malaria used as medical treatment
An Austrian doctor discovered that Malaria could cure syphilis. In the 1920s, he used Malaria parasites to infect syphilis patients. However, once it became evident that Malaria in itself is a disease that could cause death, the treatment was discontinued.
Medical treatment for stuttering
A medical treatment called hemiglossectomy was extreme. Medical practitioners in the Middle Ages treated stammering and stuttering by cutting off a part of the patient’s tongue. However, it proved ineffective because most patients bled to death, and those who survived could no longer talk. Well, maybe removing the ability to talk is an effective way to stop stuttering.
Arsenic widely used medical treatment
From Ancient Romans, Greeks and Chinese through to the 20th century, medical practitioners used arsenic to treat, among other ailments, fevers, headaches, blood diseases and syphilis. Although natural arsenic can be present in groundwater, the inorganic version is exceptionally toxic. Instead of curing illnesses, it could cause developmental issues, lesions, heart disease, cancer and death.
Radium — once deemed a safe medical treatment
Radioactive water was used in the prevention of mental illness and to slow down aging in the 1900s. That was before they learned of radiation’s harmful effects. The U.S. surgeon general approved Radium for use in toothpaste, chocolate, suppositories and contraceptives. Furthermore, medical practitioners treated diarrhea and malaria with radium.
Chloroform as anesthetic
Before medical practitioners discovered the safety and efficiency of nitrous oxide as an anesthetic in the 1950s, they used chloroform for that purpose. Almost all procedures involving childbirth and surgery caused patients to lose consciousness by sniffing a chloroform soaked rag.
Nicotine resuscitation enema
Today, EpiPens with stimulants can revive patients. Similarly, the stimulants in nicotine were used to resuscitate people before 1811. That was when the dangers of nicotine became evident. However, before that, medical practitioners blew tobacco smoke directly into the butt of a patient on the deathbed. They used kits composed of rubber tubes and bellows, believing that the stimulants would cause extra adrenaline production. Thus reviving the dying person.
Pelvic therapy treatment for female hysteria
During the 19th century, doctors believed many women suffered from hysteria, which they regarded as a psychiatric disorder. Treatment involved therapeutic pelvic massages that led to hysterical paroxysm, which is what we now call orgasms.
However, this became laborious when about 70% of American women required this treatment, taking up most doctors’ time. The invention of electric vibrators in the 1800s cut the treatments from one hour each to 10 minutes — giving doctors time to treat other patients as well.
Male impotence treated with electric currents
During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, doctors treated impotence or erectile dysfunction in men with a Pulvermacher chain. The patient wore a belt around the waist that stimulated the abdomen via electric currents, supposedly treating the dysfunction. Use of this device ended by 1950.