Top 10 Brutal Medical Cures


Brutal Medical Cures, Some Of Which Actually
Work By Jill Summerville The bioethics of medicine changes over time. A contemporary doctor would not treat people
without their consent, for example. However, that medical practice was common
in Europe and America as late as the nineteenth century, at least for part of the population. Slaves were treated without their consent,
since a slave owner’s consent was considered sufficient. Worse yet, slaves often endured painful procedures,
such as amputations or gynecological treatments, without the benefit of anesthesia. A history of the medical treatment of slaves
is a chilling lesson in the importance of bioethics, the practice of creating standard
medical procedures to ensure that all patients are treated with equal respect. Slaves received less humane treatment due
to the inherently racist belief that they didn’t feel pain as acutely as their masters. In some cases, medical treatments become unacceptable
because they reveal inherent, incorrect sociocultural biases. In other cases, such as the cases on this
list, medical procedures become less common because they’re either ineffective or extremely
dangerous, even when they are performed successfully. Some of the medical procedures on this list
are effective, but all of them would be painful for even the bravest patient. 10. Lobotomy/Trepanning Trepanation, the practice of putting a hole
in a human skull by cutting, scraping, or using a hand drill, was regarded as a versatile
medical procedure until the end of the sixteenth century. Once wrongly believed to correct head injuries,
preeclampsia, and eclampsia and treat chronic pain, the technique is now used solely when
a surgeon drills a hole in a patient’s skull to access a brain legion or a brain tumor. In 1972, Peter Halvorson drilled a hole three-eighths
of an inch wide into his own head. He claims the procedure has cured his depression,
though he offers no medical proof. In most cases, trepanation isn’t self-inflicted. Unlike trepanation, which is still considered
to be a medically valuable procedure in some cases, contemporary doctors and psychoanalysts
consider lobotomies both unethical and ineffective. Portuguese neurologist, Egas Moniz, developed
the lobotomy procedure, which was adopted by other doctors with minor alterations. After anesthetizing the patient, a surgeon
drilled a pair of holes into either the top or the side of the head. The surgeon then inserted a sharp instrument,
such as an ice pick, into the hole and swept it from side to side, severing connections
between the frontal lobe and the rest of the patient’s brain. Moniz first performed the procedure on patients
who were exhibiting obsessive behaviors, which he believed were caused by fixed circuits
in the brain. However, lobotomies were also used to treat
other conditions, such as phobias and schizophrenia. The problems: First, different mental health
conditions affect the brain differently, so the effectiveness of a lobotomy will vary
based on a patient’s diagnosis. Second, even contemporary scientists don’t
perfectly understand all of the neural mechanisms that make a human brain function. A surgeon performing a lobotomy with an ice
pick was certainly severing connections within a patient’s brain. Unfortunately, neither the doctor nor the
surgeon could verify which capabilities the patient might lose once those connections
were severed. Perhaps the best example of the devastating
effects of an ineffective lobotomy is the case of Rosemary Kennedy. In 1941, Kennedy, the sister of the American
president, John F. Kennedy, had a lobotomy. Before the procedure, Rosemary, who was twenty
at the time, had the cognitive abilities of a fourth grader. A psychiatrist who was present during Rosemary’s
lobotomy asked her to tell him stories during her procedure. The surgeon only stopped scraping her brain
once she could no longer talk. Rosemary’s communication abilities were delayed
before her lobotomy. After her lobotomy, they were nonexistent. She could only say a few words, and she could
no longer walk. 9. Humor Therapy Humor therapy, which was practiced until the
nineteenth century, was based on the belief that the human body contained four fluids,
or humors: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. Illnesses were caused by an imbalance in one
or more of the four humors. Humor therapy primarily consisted of three
treatments: massages, emetics, and bloodletting. Bloodletting is a treatment that’s still used
for a few conditions, such as hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder affecting iron metabolism,
polycythemia vera, a stem cell bone marrow disorder, and porphyria cutanea tarda, a group
of disorders of heme metabolism with an abnormality in iron metabolism. Unfortunately for many patients treated before
the nineteenth century, unnecessary or excessive bloodletting can be fatal. When George Washington, the first U.S. president,
woke one morning with a sore throat, he requested bloodletting. His attending doctors drained five to seven
pints of his blood in less than sixteen hours. [A healthy adult has between nine and twelve
pints of blood in his or her body.] Washington ceased to suffer from a sore throat
four days after his bloodletting, because he died. 8. Hydrotherapy Asylum patients suffered especially brutal
medical treatments, such as hydrotherapy. From the seventeenth century through the twentieth
century, people with cognitive disabilities, mood disorders, and psychiatric disorders
were confined to asylums. Though asylums were supposed to function as
treatment facilities, many treatment techniques seem inhumane by contemporary standards. Hydrotherapy was a water treatment most frequently
used for patients with depression, insomnia, or suicidal thoughts. The water was either very hot or very cold,
depending on what condition was being treated. There were three methods of hydrotherapy. Sometimes a patient was forced to sit in a
bathtub full of water, confined to the bathtub through the use of restraints. Sometimes a patient was “mummified,” wrapped
in wet towels. Sometimes a patient was stripped and hosed. A treatment could last for several hours,
putting the patient at risk for hypothermia or hyperthermia. Hydrotherapy was dangerous, dehumanizing,
and ineffective. 7. Acne Radiation Therapy Acne radiation therapy is more dangerous than
the condition it was developed to treat. Radiation therapy is a medical treatment wherein
beams of intense energy are used to shrink cells in a target area. It’s still used to treat many types of cancer,
as most medical professionals agree the risk of developing secondary cancers is outweighed
by the possibility of putting a primary cancer into remission. Acne, however, is not a life threatening condition. The possibility of developing cancer isn’t
an acceptable level of medical risk for someone undergoing acne treatment. Doctors now know that patients who received
acne radiation therapy, a treatment that was used in Western medicine until the 1990s,
have a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer, skin cancer, and breast cancer as a result
of having radiation applied to their faces and necks. 6. Tobacco Smoke Enemas Tobacco was a popular English import in the
eighteenth century, shipped to England from its colony in Virginia. The Native American tribes in Virginia used
tobacco to treat many conditions, and sometimes the treatment was administered as an enema. Dr. William Hawes and Dr. Thomas Cogan of
The Royal Humane Society advocated the use of the technique in England. Specifically, they claimed tobacco smoke enemas
could revive people who had nearly drowned. The doctors would send a pipe smoker to insert
an enema tube with rubber tubing attachments and blow tobacco smoke up the rectum. The tobacco smoke was falsely believed to
warm the body and stimulate respiration. A tobacco smoke enema never harmed a drowning
person. Nor did it save one. However, the treatment eventually became so
popular it was used to treat headaches, respiratory failure, colds, hernias, abdominal cramps
(when administered with chicken broth), typhoid fever, and cholera. Treating infectious diseases could be dangerous
for the pipe smoker, as he could be infected with cholera if he inadvertently coughed or
inhaled while delivering an enema. In 1811, English scientist Ben Brodie ended
the widespread practice of administering tobacco smoke enemas, because he discovered nicotine
was harmful to the heart. 5. Lancing Gums The pain experienced by teething babies has
been a consistent concern for much of medical history; even Hippocrates wrote about it. Teething is obviously physically painful. The infant’s suffering was sometimes retroactively
believed to be causal in cases of infant mortality. However unjustified, this fear sometimes led
parents to seek treatments for teething itself, including lancing the gums. A common practice for most of the twentieth
century, infants’ gums were cut open (lanced) so that the infant’s teeth could be removed. While teething is painful, it isn’t dangerous. Lancing, on the other hand, could cause gum
infections, especially if the procedure were performed with an instrument that hadn’t been
sterilized. 4. Lithotomy The term, “lithotomy” was coined by the
Greek surgeon, Ammonius of Alexandria. Roughly translated, it means, “cutting stone.” Until the nineteenth century, lithotomy was
the standard procedure for removing calculi (stones) from the bladder, kidney, or urinary
tract. Lithotomy was effective, provided one survived
the operation. A patient would lay on his or her back, feet
apart, while the surgeon passed a blade through the patient’s perineum, the flesh between
the genitalia and the anus. Once the blade struck a stone, a surgeon usually
inserted his fingers into the patient’s anus or urethra to remove the stone. All of this was done without the benefit of
anesthesia, of course. Joannes Lethaeus, the subject of a 1655 painting
by Dutch painter, Carel van Savoyen, became famous for using a kitchen knife to remove
his own bladder stone. The procedure of lithotomy is no longer used,
but the position a patient took for the procedure is still a part of standard medical practice. The lithotomy position is the default position
used for childbirth and gynecological exams. 3. Symphysiotomy A symphysiotomy, a medical procedure used
to facilitate a difficult birth, might still be used in a country where a Cesarean section
were disallowed or the necessary tools to perform one were not available. During a symphysiotomy, a doctor unhinges
and severs a woman’s pelvis in order to deliver a child. The procedure often has long term, damaging
effects on a mother’s body. Most symphysiotomy patients experience pelvic
pain for three to six months after the procedure. Patients report lifelong pelvic joint pain,
difficulty walking, and urinary incontinence. Ireland’s doctors performed symphysiotomies
until 1984; women who endured the procedure are protesting the Irish government’s destruction
of their medical records, records they say reveal the brutality of a procedure performed
without their consent. Symphysiotomies are still performed, primarily
in Africa. However, the United Nations Human Rights Committee
has ruled that the procedure violates a woman’s right to freedom from torture and inhumane
and degrading treatment. 2. Malarial Therapy (Pyrotherapy) Before penicillin was discovered in 1928,
infections a contemporary doctor would easily treat could be psychologically and physically
damaging to a patient. Syphilis was one such infection. If syphilis were left untreated, a patient
would develop neurosyphillis when the infection crossed the blood brain barrier. Neurosyphilis was characterized by a fatal,
progressive degeneration of the patient’s nervous system. Symptoms of degeneration included: seizures,
ataxia, speech deficits, paralysis, mania, depression, violent behavior, paranoia, memory
loss, delirium, disorientation, and apathy. Psychiatrist Julius Wagoner Jauregg pioneered
malarial therapy, also called pyrotherapy. He deliberately gave syphilitic patients blood
infected by malaria. [Soldiers returning home after fighting in
World War I were often infected with malaria.] Once they were given infected blood, patients
started exhibiting symptoms consistent with infection. Most importantly, they had high fevers. A fever is a body’s natural method for killing
infection. Malarial therapy was effective. Jauregg earned the Nobel Prize for Medicine
in 1927 for his medical innovation. However, malarial therapy only affected neurosyphilis,
because neurosyphilis was caused by an external pathogen invading the brain. Because Juregg’s cure was sometimes successful,
his successors used malarial therapy to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychomotor
cortical irritation syndromes, post-Parkinson’s encephalitis, and psychoses of epilepsy. Like neurosyphilis, these conditions are related
to the brain. Unlike neurosyphilis, the aforementioned conditions
aren’t germ related. Therefore inducing a fever, the body’s natural
response to invading germs, has no effect on the patient. 1. Insulin Comas Sometimes, a contemporary doctor places a
patient into a medically induced coma. A medically induced coma gives a traumatized
brain time to heal, without cuing the body to restrict blood flow to damaged sections
of the brain. These comas are carefully monitored by professionals. Ideally, they are reversible. In 1927, Austrian psychiatrist, Manfred Sakel,
accidentally placed a patient he was treating for opioid addiction into a coma by giving
him an overdose of insulin. Opioid addicts exhibited the restless pacing
and disorganized thought patterns often associated with mental disorders. Sakel noted that when he gave these patients
high doses of insulin, their blood sugar quickly dropped, inducing a coma. When the patients awoke, they no longer exhibited
psychotic behaviors. Of course, they had never been exhibiting
psychotic behaviors. They had been exhibiting addictive behaviors. Because of his incorrect belief that insulin
could affect the behavior of patients with psychological disorders, Sakel began putting
patients with schizophrenia into insulin comas. Sometimes, he would put one patient into several
comas in one day. The patients invariably gained weight, since
insulin pushes glucose into cells. Those who survived still risked permanent
brain damage. The brain absorbs seventy percent of the body’s
glucose, so rapid changes in the body’s glucose level can permanently affect the one’s ability
to process complex information. Sakel considered this a worthwhile risk, since
a brain damaged patient was often a less confrontational patient.

68 thoughts on “Top 10 Brutal Medical Cures

  1. The belief that slaves did not feel pain still endures to this day.
    There are many people, in the medical profession and outside of it who believe that Black people don't feel pain (physical and emotional).
    If that stereotype has an upside related to current events, the opioid crisis in America today hasn't impacted African Americans nearly as much as white, rural communities.
    This is because Black people were not prescribed opiods at the same rate as whites, because of the aforementioned stereotype.
    So in a way, racism actually worked to the black community's advantage, for once.

  2. Imagine if in the future they make a video similar to this called "Ineffective 21st century treatments". It would happen considering medicine still has a long way to go

  3. I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than go through a frontal lobotomy. Just to think of the practices that had gone one in the no so long ago past. Such as the procedure called the "ice pick" lobotomy, It was accomplished by inserting a "ice pick" like tool in the corner of the eye socket to access the frontal lobe of the brain. that was to be a cure for depression or what ever they could sell it as. i am sure the Kennedy child would of rather not have anything like that done to her, but those were different times and Doctors(most all of the any way) just wanted to offer the patient comfort and a little ease of the suffering that he/she was going through. Thank the "higher powers" of science for our advances in the field of medicine and procedures.

  4. To this day there still is no cure for Cooties. Cooties' research reached its apex in 2017, then due to the housing bubble crisis, all funding dried up.

  5. Thanks again for the info Simon 👍👍. I often look out for your content. Geo or top. The average vid length and mini doc approach you use is relaxing and enjoyable.

  6. Malaria therapy, vs the alternatives (mercuric drugs and exposures, to say nothing of things like loosing your nose, going mad and/or death) was not really a bad chose– that is, from a modern perspective. Quinine was a treatment post malarial exposure- and would 'usual' cure the malaria– usually.

    Today as a doctor I often advise a form of heat therapy- as in the case of a minor cold etc. I tell my patients to let it run its course… tho uncomfortable, the body's natural defense- a fever- will act best in clearing a viral infection. I discourage the use of aspirin and other anti-fever drugs-

    All that said, I save antibiotics for the serious things……. 🙂

  7. frightening…..absolutely frightening how many things we've gotten wrong in medical over the years. However, when you think of the future I'm sure things we're doing now will seem just as frightening. Thanks for another great video ya'll!!

  8. Would it work if someone is addicted to a hard drugs like heroin if doctors put them in a coma for X amount of days would they wake up no longer physically addicted to it and possibly mentally?

  9. When my dad was little, they thought he had teething issues and not only did they try cutting his gums, they went ahead and pulled all his baby teeth. It wasn't until he was 2 years old that they realized it wasn't teething but was actually an ear infection that he had for almost a year-and-a-half that point. By the time they realized what the problem was, they ended up having to perform a mastoid operation to remove the damaged tissue. Leaving him almost completely deaf in that ear. A few years ago because of that, is hearing aid got so bad he decided it was time for a cochlear implant. Unfortunately, the moron that installed the screw that goes into the skull went too far punched in the inside of his skull, he had several years of issues causing Strokes heart attacks and seizures, which he had no history of before. And, because they had pulled his teeth, his gums were so weak that he suffered from gum and tooth infections that caused him to lose all his teeth by time he was in his twenties. Now, in his seventies, he is toothless, half bald, half deaf, half-blind, and half crazy.

    Seeing that article there from Wernersville, Pennsylvania, I thought it was going to be in operation at the former Wernersville State Hospital. I found the article that is from 1998 and found it that's just where he was living 20 years ago. Being from that area, and working with someone that had worked there years before, I know that state mental Institution performed some highly unethical practices, even long after they were found to be ineffective, such as trepanning and electroshock therapy.

  10. What about the ones that are still in use, like Lithium? curing mood disorders with heavy metal poisoning is pretty brutal.

  11. Lobotomy logic: your brain doesn't work because of "broken circuits" so we're going to fix that by.. Severing a lot more connections and breaking more circuits.

    Seems legit.

  12. While it may not be making headlines in medical journals, a variation of Pyrotherapy is being used to clear patients of the Borellia spirochete (the source of Lyme disease). Not with a secondary infection, but with saunas. The logic behind killing the syphilitic spirochete (close relative, we learn, of the Borellia Bergdorfia) with fevers is that once the core body temperature is raised to a specific point (102 F) and held there for a period of time (over 20 minutes, as I recall) repeatedly, over a period of weeks and months, it kills off the pathogen, like chipping away at a rock.

    Some folks who have been treated with every antibiotic the AMA had to offer and still had Lyme have used this successfully.

  13. Neurosurgeons also drill a small hole in the skull to monitor pressure inside the brain i f there has been an injury causing the brain to swell. I'm not sure if they do this if there is an infection going on or not.

  14. The fact that evidence of trepanning dating from 6500 BCE in France with multiple skulls found with holes bored in them is pretty amazing. Our ancestors were far more advanced than history likes to make out. We've lost so much over the years. However, lobotomises are truly barbaric. An ex of mines mother had a labotomy to cure her epilepsy, which was causing her to have seizures constantly, but she went from being a really lovely woman to being incredibly cruel and malicious to my ex.

  15. Methotrexate, which is used for cancer is used to treat arthritis, some hospitals will refuse other treatments if the patient won't try it first. You have to have chest xrays monthly when on it to make sure it's not going to cause even worse issues. I had to try it, as soon as I could I got myself taken off it. Arthritis is an auto-immune disease, so 'curing' with something which makes your immune system even weaker is insane, especially when it's pretty much the first treatment that you have to try when you get a diagnosis of arthritis now in the UK.

  16. There are still procedure performed on women today in developed nations which I have no doubt will be considered torture in the future, particularly women in labour. I can't even begin to imagine the horror of a symphysiotomy, it makes me feel physically sick just trying.

    Likewise for mental health, treatments are 100 years behind those for physical ailments and we're now in the middle of a pandemic. About time we caught up.

  17. Doctors can also use a hole in the skull to relieve pressure due to swelling of the brain in severe cases when medication and other treatments have not worked to save a patient's life.

  18. You missed out the use of a tapeworm to treat dysentery. By the way, plus several brownie points for correctly pronouncing encephalitis, but minus several hundred for forgetting the difference between "to lie" and "to lay". Don't forget that you objective here is to educate, but that doesn't just cover the material presented, but the language used, too.

  19. Well, probably the first time I had to skip a part of a video with Simon Whistler. But knives around my junk is something I don't like to think about, much less a barbaric surgery.

  20. The AMA came up with that foolish position for birthing babies, which is not beneficial for anyone but the Doctors bank accounts. Doctors were trying over centuries to get rid of Midwives. The majority of 'witches' put on trial and killed were young midwives and rich widows – the 'helpless' as it were… (nteresting to note that in Austria until late 1400's – when someone was convicted of witchcraft the king would get a 1/3 of the 'witches' belongings, the church 1/3, local magistrate 1/3 and 1/10 to the accuser, after this was abolished – witch accusations dropped from 200+ to two the very next year, to zero in 2 years, hmmm – I can only guess all the witches must have coincidentally moved away once the monetary incentive was abolished…). Midwifery was one of the very few trades that a single woman could work at and support herself. This was unacceptable to the Male dominated AMA, woman in the past would always be squatting or sitting during childbirth which lets the obvious gravity help out. The vaginal canal is facing upwards and tail bone curls up; so when a woman is on her back the baby has to go up over the tailbone AGAINST GRAVITY which then gives the male doctors the power and the woman is now helpless and instead of an easy – gravity assisted birth, they are now dependent upon a doctor to help them. Being on your back in childbirth is the worst possible position for exactly the reasons I stated, even further eliminating the 'natural' childbirth, was spinals, which we know now is detrimental, because its causing woman's natural endorphin to diminish. Luckily most women are now aware of these important issues, continued use of spinals could make women become dependent on them, and suffer needlessly if they don't have the access to them. So any pregnant women out there, don't believe the doctor, use gravity to assist your birth and take some morphine or better yet dilaudid for the pain, and use a midwife, don't even go to the hospital unless you are unusually young or old, or if its your first time giving birth as a precaution, but do not use their services unless in emergency… How many babies, including my cousin were permanently damaged by use of foreceps, which only became neccesary because of the practice of putting the birth canal at an upwards angle from the ground… It was nothing but a way for doctors to get greedy and to finally rid themselves of midwives, who were their only competition in this regard. They were pretty successful too, luckily the truth is coming out…

  21. Just a little nit pick about trepanation, it’s also used to avoid brain damage from a bleed on the brain. They basically just drain out the blood, spinal fluid, whatever out of the hole.!

  22. There was an actress named Frances Farmer she was played by Jessica Lange in the movie "Frances" they did that nifty little lobotomy on her and she stopped being so unladylike. Great movie horrible waste of a human because she wasn't a cookie cutter girl for the 50s

  23. I cringed hearing all of these. Suffice enough to say that I am grateful for increased medical knowledge and modern medicine

  24. Wow! What 5-year-old did the research for this segment? It's 'humoral' not 'humor' (as in laughter is the best medicine maybe?) – lookup humoral immune response. Hydrotherapy – well, I guess you could have gotten it more wrong but it would take some work. What you use as examples of normal hydrotherapy are anything but. Touting these as the 'usual' practice is so far off-base it's laughable and does no credit to you or your staff. Lookup Sebastien Kniepp, Freidrich Bilz, Scrottle & Priessnitz (his facility is still open after 150 years) – the University of Leipzig, University of Greifswald and the Royal University of Sweden all had advanced hydrotherapy courses. It's still commonly used today – ever hear of a Sitz bath, or see a water tank in a sports-medicine facility? Let's just say when it comes to hydrotherapy – you're all wet.

  25. I have migraine disease. I'm never totally w/out a migraine ~ for the last five years ~ but have had migraines since 1984, that's almost 36 years.
    It feels like my brain is under pressure and trying to find a release valve.
    So~I asked hubby to drill two tiny holes, just above the temples, on both sides of my head (trepanation) to release said pressure.
    I even got out the drill and correct sized bit! But WOULD HE? NOOOOOOO. He said "something, something MURDER, something, something PRISON" ~and downright refused!
    I don't think he loves me anymore.
    Jenn in Canada 🇨🇦

  26. They are still not as advanced as they would have you believe. Simply throwing a bottle of pills at everything to 'see how it goes', is similar to ancient magic, witches & shaman. Doctors are paid by insurance companies where the former were not. I am sure that I personally keep a certain small town, yet national chain drugstore in business with the gessings of several modern "doctors".

  27. Hydrotherapy was sometimes used on aggressive patients. They were submerged, except the head, in a 37° bath for up to eight hours. The tub was covered up as to maintain the temperature. This was in fact effective as the water seriously disturbed the electrolyte balance which made the patient calm and lethargic. If it was so very healthy is a totally different matter. Please excuse any fault in grammar and/or spelling.

  28. Acne radiation therapy? Are you kidding me? 3rd degree burns also prevent acne, but I'm not going to set my head on fire

  29. Simon, an intensely schizophrenic patient is hallucinating constantly, and has no ability to reason whatsoever, and is also sometimes massively dangerous. In the face of that 24 hours a day, ANYTHING is an improvement! Think about it. Do you have any idea just how much nurses even today are in danger on a regular, constant basis? How about jail guards?

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