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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Sunday, 7 April 2013

(London Museum#8) Old operating theatre Museum

This is the oldest surviving operating theatre in the country, built in 1822 before the days of anaesthesia and antiseptic surgery. It was rediscovered in 1957 when repairs were being made to the eaves of St Thomas' Church in Southwark.


To get to the theatre you have to climb up this very narrow staircase. There is a rope hanging down the middle of the stairwell for you to hold onto but the stairs are quite tricky to negotiate.



 The theatre was built in the round so that the students could get a better look at what was happening.



Some of the tools used for amputations. The surgeons tried to be as quick as possible with most amputations taking less than a minute. The patient would be given a swig of alcohol and then held down on this wooden operating table. Many patients either died of shock or from infection as nothing was known about the need for cleanliness. Surgeons would not wash their hands or change their garments between operations. It is a wonder that anyone survived.





Eventually anaesthesia began to be used for operations.





11 comments:

  1. Very interesting post ! How lucky we are today ! I shiver when I see these horrible surgery instruments and yet, people survived !

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  2. What a brilliant bit of history that, shot sure the patient would be in a fit condition after being dragged up then stairs. Don't this it would do me any good either.

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  3. I'm so pleased I didn't have to have surgery back then ..... those implements hanging on the wall look very scary.

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  4. Just one question - how did the patients get into the theatre?!?! I'm SOOOOOO greatful I'm here AFTER the 'experimentation' with anaesthetic!! This is fascinating!!

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  5. Hard to believe it was lost for so long, but thinking more, yes, it could be.

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  6. I found this fascinating, and a little bit scary too. I am so glad to live in an age when we are knocked out cold for operations. Those instruments will give me nightmares! :-)

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  7. Wow very interesting post. Today it's hard to imagine performing operations without any anesthesia. Thanks for sharing this information.

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  8. Oh gosh - very creepy. It IS a wonder anyone survived...

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  9. Interesting, but gosh, what a torture chamber!

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  10. I shudder at the idea of being operated on in such a place! How did they survive indeed?!?! But it's such a fascinating place to behold...

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