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The Girl in His Shadow


The story of one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world ...
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Which treatments surprised you the most? Can you identify any techniques that have carried over into modern medicine?

Created: 04/30/21

Replies: 11

Posted Apr. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2710

Which treatments surprised you the most? Can you identify any techniques that have carried over into modern medicine?

We get to see nineteenth-century medical techniques through Nora's eyes. Which treatments surprised you the most? Can you identify any techniques that have carried over into modern medicine?


Posted Apr. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Laura C

Join Date: 04/30/21

Posts: 7

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

Lack of any effective type of sedation before surgery (until the use of ether) was certainly the most shocking to me. The description of suturing wounds seems similar to what is done today, except for lack of pain relief.


Posted May. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 61

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

I agree with Laura C - I was very surprised by the lack of sedation before surgery. This was horrifying. I found the storyline about the characters experimenting with ether as an effective method of sedation really interesting.


Posted May. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 96

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

The whole discovery of the ether was fascinating! It was kind of ironic that as I was reading this, I was preparing myself for major surgery. Some parts had me freaked out!


Posted May. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LWReads

Join Date: 08/09/18

Posts: 33

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

As others have mentioned, I found the idea of surgery without anesthesia to be horrifying. The experiments with ether that they did on each other also seemed scary to me, although ether was a huge improvement over the alternative.

The whole intestinal operation that caused all the trouble was fascinating. It’s hard to imagine a time when intense surgery like that was a last ditch effort with only a small expectation of success.

As I read the book, I wondered about how much knowledge the author actually had about medicine at the time and how much was made up. The authors’ notes at the end revealed that there were two authors and they had indeed done their research.


Posted May. 02, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 298

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

I was aware of the bite the bullet period of surgery so the whole ether thing was not a surprise. What was not mentioned, and it surprised me, was the lack of sterilization of hands and instruments. Nora wipes her bloody hands on her apron during the surgery! I guess suturing and retraction of tissue is the same today as then


Posted May. 02, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
catherynez

Join Date: 01/27/18

Posts: 64

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

The lack of anesthesia and the discovery of ether as an anesthetic was interesting to me. The brutal nature and frequency of amputation was interesting. It was interesting to me that the intestinal surgery that saved John’s life was a last ditch effort and Dr. Vickery was more concerned thar Nora was illegally helping with the surgery than the fact that they saved a man’s life with a new surgery.


Posted May. 02, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carriem

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 60

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

I agree with what others have said about the lack of anesthesia prior to surgery was frightening but that was all that they had and at least Nora tried to provide comfort. As mentioned, the lack of sterilization was even more scarier especially because it was the norm. What satisfied but at the same time surprised me was the successful surgeries that Nora performed or assisted even with Dr. Vickery disapproval but proved her knowledge and talents in medicine.


Posted May. 03, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 326

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

The lack of sedation and fearing cutting into the abdomen surprised me the most.


Posted May. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jos

Join Date: 03/14/21

Posts: 24

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

I was intrigued by the autopsies they did and how they had to obtain cadavers to Learn. Today the Autopsies are probably similar but with newer technologies and techniques but the means of obtaining cadavers is now on a donation system. I also was intrigued by Nora’s sketches Now days most things are probably done digitally to recreated body organs for text or plastic models. I bet the sketches and wax representations like the ones done by the real Anna Miranda Manzolini did for the University in Bologna were beautiful and real works of art in their own way!


Posted May. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Janet Smith

Join Date: 07/28/14

Posts: 44

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

Agree about the lack of sedation. Unbelievable. So glad that doctors finally perfected sedation. Can't imagine a surgery without proper sedation.


Posted May. 06, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Loveslife

Join Date: 08/01/15

Posts: 44

RE: Which treatments surprised you the ...

There are a number of treatments that would be surprising to people who had not studied history. The lack of antiseptics and ways to sedate for surgery were several of the things that show how far medicine and science have come. It is unbelievable to think about surgery or disease without anesthesia or sterilization. I think the book showed a thorough research of that time and presented well-if hard to read.


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