Doctors are special people.
When we feel ill, they help make us feel better. When we’ve lost the pep in our step, they can give us an extra boost. And it’s proper and fitting to send a word of thanks, especially on Doctor’s Day, March 30th.
The science of medicine has come a long way since those ancient days when men thought all disease, all illness was caused by spiritual beings. Early medicine was thought to be a spiritual healing exercise, a sort of voodoo for the soul, and doctors were often priests. One of the earliest doctors, Hippocrates, is honored today by an oath. For his work we call him the “father of modern medicine”.
Claudius Galen revolutionized medicine in Rome by taking the ideas of Hippocrates and revising them. He was well known for keeping a close eye on the sick and noting their symptoms. He also learned about internal organs by dissecting animals.
In the middle ages, physicians and other medical professions opened medical schools so that young physicians could study medicine.
In the 17th century, a man named William Harvey discovered that blood flowed in one direction continuously. It was a revolutionary discovery at the time. A little over a century later, Antoine Lavoisier made known the secrets of respiration and has since been called the father of modern chemistry.
Throughout the ages other men (and women) have contributed discoveries that have improved the science of medicine and improvement to people’s health. Edward Jenner developed the vaccination for smallpox during the 19th century. Louis Pasteur studies Jenner’s work and learned a great deal about germs and how it spreads to cause illness. Much of what he learned is still in use today.
A woman, Marie Curie, worked with radiation. Much of her scientific work today is used in x-rays and the treatment of cancer.
Doctors in the 20th century have developed other great advances in every field of medicine. Research into antibiotics has helped millions of people. The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming led to the mass production of pharmaceuticals and has been used widely in the treatment of illnesses. The first heart transplant was performed in the 1960s.