The History of Medical Development in the United States
The United States’ history of medical advancements is a long and continuous journey with many bumps in the road. It encompasses various periods and approaches to health care from colonial days to the present times; you can find everything ranging from home remedies to the increasing professionalization and managed care of modern medicine and practices.
In this blog, we’ll break down the critical eras and developments that helped us eradicate some of the worst diseases and discover better medicines and medical practices.
Early practice and traditional medicine
Before our independence and under colonial rule, our healthcare system comprised home remedies, traditional medicine, and cures.
No formal education was necessary to start practicing medicine, and senior physicians locally trained a handful of men who treated patients back in the day.
We suffered from a high mortality rate and many infant deaths during that era. With the outbreak of many diseases such as malaria and yellow fever, people turned to local healers and traditional medicines to find cures to eradicate these diseases.
By the 18th century, we had developed vaccines, established medical colleges, understood human anatomy, and actively sought advancements in pathology and pharmacology.
Involvement of women and nurses
With a rising need and demand for midwives and nurses in the medical world, women played a significant role in delivering babies and professionalizing medicine.
Curing disease and practicing medicine was seen as a noble profession by the end of the 19th century, which led the way for many medical colleges to accept, train and educate women. Women from all backgrounds and social classes rushed to graduate and work at hospitals, institutions, and public health facilities.
Wars and shift toward modern medicine
Our involvement in wars and civil uprisings increased the number of wounded soldiers and civilians, diseases, and accidents.
Poor hygiene conditions and lack of supplies made it difficult for professional doctors and nurses to contain epidemics such as smallpox, mumps, whooping cough, and measles. Slowly but surely, we made our way towards modern medicine and understood germ theory, and set stricter standards for medical education and hygiene practices. Our medical discoveries were now rooted in science.
Our healthcare system today
Today our healthcare system is littered with insurance companies and private sector businesses. We are far from establishing any sense of universal healthcare, making it extremely expensive for people to seek medical help without accumulating massive amounts of debt.
Want to learn more about the medical history of the United States? Check out my book, “A fork in the road at Hopkins.”
With many years of experience in the medical and health care industry, Andy Lazris shares his knowledge and expertise through his collection of non-fiction books online. His dedication toward health care reforms and scientific discoveries makes him a viable part of the industry.
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