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History of Medicine

By dhuynh1
  • 500 BCE

    Alcmaeon of Croton

    Alcmaeon of Croton
    Alcmaeon had stated that if the body was healthy, then it had the correct balance of hot and cold, wet and dry, sweet and bitter, and basically opposing values. He also stated that if the body was not balanced or if the equilibrium is upset, then the body would grow sick or ill.
  • Period: 500 BCE to 400

    Ancient Times

  • 430 BCE


    Hippocrates had many writings regarding the way of performing examinations and treatments of patients. He had a very strict moral code which did not allow deliberate harm done to be patient or the revelation of a patient's privacy. These morales have since been used in the Hippocratic Oath which all physicians must take and have also been a foundation for ethical beliefs in medicine.
  • 280 BCE


    Herophilus, known as the father of anatomy, had performed the first studies on the nervous system through dissection. He also distinguished the differences between sensory nerves and motor nerves in the brain, and the anatomy of the eye.
  • 250 BCE


    Erasistratus was a Greek anatomist and physician, who some refer to as the founder of physiology. He performed many studies on the physiology of the brain, heart and eyes, and in the vascular, nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems. He also distinguished the difference between the cerebrum and cerebellum and arteries and veins.
  • 160


    Galen was a Roman physician whose writings were used well into the Renaissance. He stated that there were four bodily humors, including blood, phlegm, and yellow and black bile, which were all accompanied with their individual symptoms and elements. Galen also acknowledged many treatments for certain disabilities, such as performing a tracheotomy for those who cannot breathe, and also performed the first anatomomical demonstrations with dissections of animals.
  • Period: 400 to 1400

    Middle Ages

  • 754

    First Pharmacy

    First Pharmacy
    The first pharmacy was created in the city, Baghdad, located in the Arabian Peninsula, in 754, during the Abbasid Caliphate of Islam. It had made many advances in botany and chemistry and also led to the development of pharmacology in the Middle East.
  • 865


    The Al-Mansuri and Al-Hawi, Rhazes' encyclopedic writings in medicine, were translated and became a standard text for Islamic and European medical students for many centuries. He was also the first to document the differences between smallpox and measles, as well as be the first to determine that they were two separate diseases.
  • 1025

    The Canon of Medicine

    The Canon of Medicine
    The Canon of Medicine was created by Avicenna, a Persian philosopher. It is a five volume encyclopedia consisting of Greek and Arabic medicine and medical practices. It had set the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic World, and it was also used as a standard medical textbook until 17th and 18th century.
  • 1096

    Barber Surgeons

    Barber Surgeons
    Barber surgeons were common medical practitioners during the Middle Ages of Europe. They performed both haircuts, shaves, and superficial tasks as well as surgeries, bloodletting, amputations, and enemas. The signature barber pole draws its origin from barber surgeons as the red strip represented the bloody bandages that they hang to dry on a white pole.
  • 1249

    Roger Bacon

    Roger Bacon
    Roger Bacon was a philosopher who had discussed physiology of eyesight and the anatomy of the eye and the brain in Opus Majus. He is also the first one to write about convex lens spectacles for long-sightedness.
  • Period: 1400 to


  • 1510

    Ambroise Paré

    Ambroise Paré
    Ambroise Paré was a surgeon who had proved that certain extreme methods, such as treating wounds with boiling water or using leeches to suck disease out of blood, were incorrect. He demonstrated that the best way in order to prevent bleeding during amputation was to ligate, or close off, the wound.
  • 1543

    De humani corporis fabrica

    De humani corporis fabrica
    De humani corporis fabrica, Latin for, "On the fabric of the human body," was a set of seven books written by Flemish anatomist, Andreas Vesalius. The seven books were the first accurate works on anatomy including multiple illustrations of the muscles and skeleton of human body.
  • Zacharius Janssen

    Zacharius Janssen
    Zacharius Jannssen was a Dutch spectacle-maker who was associated with the invention of the first optical telescope. Though real origin of the microscope is still up for debate, his invention is thought by many to pave the way for the microscope that is used in modern medicine today.
  • William Harvey

    William Harvey
    William Harvey was an English physician who had written a 17-chapter book named, De Motu Cordis, which is otherwise known as, On the Motion of the Heart and Blood. This book was one of the first accurate and detailed writings on the functions of the circulatory system.
  • Antoine van Leeuwenhoek

    Antoine van Leeuwenhoek
    Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was a Dutch tradesman and scientist who was considered to be the first microbiologist and known for his development of the microscope. He discovered and observed blood cells flowing in capillaries, bacteria, protazao, and many more microscopic things.
  • Period: to

    Industrial Revolution

  • Edward Jenner

    Edward Jenner
    Edward Jenner was an English physician and scientist who had pioneered the smallpox vaccine. This is the first vaccine to be used for the immunization of any disease, and was created by first infecting the patient with a similar, but less severe disease, cowpox.
  • Humphry Davy

    Humphry Davy
    Humphrey Davy was a Cornish chemist and inventor, who is well-known for his many great findings and discoveries that paved the way to modern medicine. In 1799, Davy discovered the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide, and, in 1800, he had announced it to the world, forever changing surgery procedures.
  • René Laennec

    René Laennec
    French physician, René Laennec, invented the stethoscope which was first used in Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, located in France. Laennec had also pioneered its use in diagnosing various chest conditions.
  • James Blundell

    James Blundell
    James Blundell was an English obstetrician who had performed the first successful blood transfusion to a patient for treatment of a hemorrhage, an escape of blood through a ruptured blood vessel. He had previously conducted these experiments using animals leading to his eventual success with humans.
  • Joseph Lister

    Joseph Lister
    Known as the father of modern surgery, Lister had insisted on using clean instruments and sanitizing procedural hands between surgeries. He had also applied Louis Pasteur’s advances in microbiology, and used carbolic acid which has since been known as aseptic technique.
  • Period: to

    Modern Era

  • Elizabeth Blackwell

    Elizabeth Blackwell
    Elizabeth Blackwell was an English-born physician who is remembered as the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. Blackwell also served as a pioneer in promoting medical education for women. Her sister, Emily Blackwell, then became the third woman to get a medical degree.
  • Abraham Jacobi

    Abraham Jacobi
    Abraham Jacobi was a German pediatrician who had established he first clinic for children in the United States. Because of this, he is often referred to as the father of American pediatrics, the branch of medicine regarding infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Wilhelm Roentgen

    Wilhelm Roentgen
    Wilhelm Roentgen, a professor of physics in Bavaria, Germany, was the first person to discover the possibility of using electromagnetic radiation to create an image of the human body. This was a huge discovery because we no longer had to cut into the body to make observations.
  • Willem Einthoven

    Willem Einthoven
    Willem Einthoven was a Dutch physician and physiologist who had invented the first electrocardiogram, also known as ECG or EKG. His experimental device was a very thin filament of conductive wire passing between very strong magnets. In 1924, Einthoven had received the Nobel Prize for this accomplishment.
  • John Alexander Hopps

    John Alexander Hopps
    Canadian engineer, John Alexander Hopps, invented the first cardiac pacemaker after doing research with hypothermia. Although the device was too large to be placed inside a body, it was an external pacemaker. His invention led the way for future bioengineers to create the modern pacemaker used today.
  • HeLa Cells

    HeLa Cells
    HeLa Cells, named after their owner, Henrietta Lacks, are cervical cancer cells that are used in medical research to this day. Scientists are still using these cells to test affects of certain diseases on human cells, such as radiation or toxic substances, as well as develop cures for certain diseases as well, such as the development of the polio vaccine. These cells are special since they are "immortal" and any dead cells can be replaced by fresh cells that regenerate from the original batch.
  • John Gibbon

    John Gibbon
    The first successful open heart procedure on a human being using the heart-lung machine was performed by John Gibbon at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital located in Philadelphia. This technique is called cardiopulmonary bypass, in which function of the heart and lungs is temporarily taken over during surgery, maintaining the circulation of blood and the oxygen through out the body.
  • Frank Pantridge

    Frank Pantridge
    Born in Northern Ireland, Frank Pantridge was a physician and cardiologist who had realized that some patients needed to be treated before they reached the hospital. Because of this realization, he went on to creating the mobile coronary care unit as well as making advancements with the invention of the portable defibrillator.
  • Christiaan Barnard

    Christiaan Barnard
    Dr. Christiaan Barnard was the first person to perform the world’s first human heart transplant successfully. It was performed during a 9 hour period with another 30 people on his team. He was also the man to perform the second successful kidney transplant.
  • Robert S. Ledley

    Robert S. Ledley
    Robert S. Ledley was a dentist who then went on to becoming a biomedical researcher. Ledley invented the first whole-body computed tomography (CT) system and brought researchers to the realization that computers had a potential to be used in medicine. It was seen that CT scans had a much higher resolution than the x-ray scans as well.