Physical sciences and life sciences in the United States went through a rich history before it developed into the diverse and useful tool which it has become in the current industrialized and digital world…
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These developments in the physical sciences cover numerous areas including education, government, culture, society, law, religion, medicine, and economics. These developments also allowed for much discovery and experimentation to be carried out in these fields, allowing for the refinement in the practice as well as related innovations. This course has evaluated the development of the physical sciences and life sciences in the United States and their application from the colonial era up to the present. This course also evaluated the historical role of science in the US and the link between science and other institutions. This study will focus on heroic medicine and its role in general society and in the current application of the practice. Body Heroic medicine covers therapies which are aggressive medical interventions or remedies which were used mostly during the mid-19th century1. This type of medicine mostly includes risky and unproven options of treatment which the more scientific methods of healing have replaced. Benjamin Rush who was one of the first who helped ratify the US Declaration of Independence is one of the advocates and ‘fathers’ of medicine in America and of heroic medicine. His training in medical practice was at the Edinburgh University2. The age of heroic medicine covers from 1780 to 1850 where many educated medical practitioners actively engaged in this practice. During their practice of this type of medicine, they included practices such as bloodletting, intestinal purging, vomiting, profuse sweating, and blistering3. Doctors during these times mostly managed illnesses such as syphilis using mercury-laden salves4. Although these methods of treatment were very much supported by the intention to treat, these interventions were very much harmful to the patients. Heroic medicine became the norm of treatment during the mid-19th century. This practice actually became the accepted practice at that time, that even the educated and trained doctors were applying it5. The actual doctors who did not apply it were the ones who were actually known as alternative practitioners. Calomel and mercurous chloride was the most commonly used mineral for the purging practices. Illnesses at that point were viewed to be imbalances in the system which were attributed to an under or over stimulation of the body6. As such, purging was needed in order to rid the body of the illness. Bleeding was considered one of the initial remedies for illnesses as it can easily eliminate any poison in the system, allowing for the balance to be renewed in the system. Signs indicated that the practice indeed worked, or that some interventions were working. Most of the people during this time felt that they were being treated even if some of the treatments led them near death7. The doctor also made it appear that he was in control of the situation. This type of treatment is considered heroic for various reasons. The term comes from the significant impact of the treatments and the large dose often needed to carry out the treatment. There is often a huge amount of calomel administered to lead to major and immediate effects, like severe vomiting8. As such, the intervention in this case is dramatic and is very bold. Although, these methods may not have been healing, they were certainly dramatic. During the 19th century, America was going through numerous civil and industrial changes in their lives. However, medicine was hardly within the same steady and progressive pace of growth and development9. The qualities of these practitioners were not the same as those who practiced during the 18th century. As was mentioned above, one of the major health practitioners during this time was Benjamin Rush who supported very much the philosophy of natural law10. Based on
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