Death, Disease & Dissection: The Life of a Surgeon Apothecary 1750 – 1850
Wind back the clocks a few hundred years and a different picture will begin to emerge. In the place of general practitioners were the affordable-but-overworked surgeon-apothecaries who spent long, arduous hours concocting pills and carrying out gruesome procedures in order to cure their customer’s multitude of illnesses. By contrast, only the most privileged in society could afford a private physician to diagnose them and subsequently refer them to a professional surgeon to offer the same treatment.
The eighteenth and nineteenth-century medical profession was worlds apart from the highly-regulated medical industry we know of today. However, it was not just the profession itself which was different, but cultural attitudes, economy, status and general conditions also played a huge part in shaping the industry into what it was.
Luckily, the author spends considerable time painting a picture of what life during these forgotten years was like for all manner of people involved. She breaks the industry down into manageable sections which even those without any knowledge of medicine, surgery or history will be able to comprehend without issue. While this book would ideally be targeted towards those with a deep interest in the medical or history fields, it is by no means a pre-requisite, largely due to the Grogan’s masterful prose which retains its simplicity while also not dumbing down the facts.