A Science Odyssey Doctor over Time

1900: You have a pus-filled sore drawing of doctor


It must be painful to walk on that leg. Next time something like this happens, contact me. I'll come out to your house. Now about the sore. You have a slight fever, and the lesion is very tender. The redness has not yet spread.


I'm afraid this could be very serious. You have an infection -- probably Staphylococcus or Streptococcus.


I'll remove the pus and clean the lesion. I'll then apply a poultice. No, a poultice has nothing to do with chickens -- remember, this is 20th century medicine! A poultice is a mass of linseed, mustard, or soap and oil between two pieces of muslin. The greatest danger is that your wound could become systemic, or spread to the blood. This is a life-threatening situation that must be avoided. If the infection shows signs of spreading, we may have to amputate the leg.


One year later...

You've become quite adept at using those crutches. What's left of your leg looks fine, and your body shows no signs of infection. You're lucky to be alive.

Start Over | 1900 | 1950 | 1998

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